Monday, June 29, 2009

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

I had to recite this when I was in the 11th grade. I guess we will never know what waited down that other road. We do know that God will work whichever path we choose for the best outcome possible. However... how do we know which HE would have us choose?

I have been wrestling with some big decisions lately. Well... some people might not see them as that big of decisions, but some of them most definitely are!

I am at peace today because one thing I was trying to come to peace about has finally been decided. Other decisions that Corey and I both are weighing are still up in the air, but this timely one has finally been laid to rest!

We have decided to not participate in our local Co-op next year.

I have not been able to come to peace with this for a while because I didn't want to take my children away from friends they had made and the "classroom" experiences. BUT, either homeschool is enough or it isn't!

I talked to Katie and Noah today about doing other activities instead of CHAT because we can't afford to take the time or money to do both. Of course, I didn't tell them the reasons, but I asked which they would choose if they had to choose just one.

Noah immediately said, "GYMNASTICS!" and Katie got upset because she thought she wasn't going to get to see this one particular friend anymore. After I assured her that she could still see her friend she wasn't upset in the least about quitting the Co-op.

After that, Katie said she wants to be an artist and take piano lessons. ha ha.

To make a very long story and many possibilities short, here is what we have decided:

1. We are getting the piano from my parents' house and I will teach Katie piano lessons. (I took lessons for about 11 years and feel confident I can teach her myself for the first couple of years anyway)

2. We are ordering Art curriculum from Artistic Pursuits to give them both weekly art lessons at home.

3. Noah will enroll in gymnastics.

This solved many problems I was having with getting my thoughts together for the fall. I wanted to do art but couldn't justify the cost with paying for other activities. Katie really wants to take piano lessons, but I hated to pay for just piano when I know I could do it myself. AND, Noah really enjoys gymnastics and I think would do very well with it.

It may not look fair that we are paying to send Noah to a class and not Katie, but why should we push her into doing something when what she really wants we can do ourselves for free? I won't feel guilty for that because they are both being given great opportunities, it just so happens that hers won't cost anything (well, after getting the piano tuned and buying a lesson book or two every few months). AND they BOTH get the added benefit of art lessons at home which I am super excited about teaching and doing with them. The Artistic Pursuits curriculum has enough lessons for a year and you can easily purchase a kit that will include all the supplies needed for all the projects (no excuses to not do them! :)

This also means that we will only have to leave the house once a week...meaning that we will have much more time for field trips/park days/play dates..something we didn't get to do near enough of this year because we had so many obligations! I have already been in contact with another homeschool mom who lives in the same town as us (our other co-op was in the next town over, about a 20 minute drive) who wants to get a play group going in our area for this coming school year!!!

That's my decision for the week, and I am feeling much better and so thankful that God can just get it all over with in a matter of minutes sometimes...even if you have pondered and thought, and weighed, and prayed for a while about something.

Now, those other decisions.... I won't share about those right now, but they are HUGE, so please say a prayer for us that one day soon the light will just come on and we will have an answer on those too :)

Thanks for reading!

Weekend Fun!

We have had another busy weekend! Friday night was dinner out at Spaghetti Warehouse with Jason, PJ, Eric, and Kelly. When we got home, Jason and PJ came over for Rock Band. We stayed up till 2:30am!!! All of us had our kids spending the night away with grandparents, so we had to take advantage of it! ha ha! We had a great time with them, but I didn't take any pictures.

Then, Saturday, Corey and I spent the day together, we had lunch at a new Japanese place in Cartersville (YUM!) and did a bit of shopping. Then, after meeting my mom to get our kids we came home and that night Chris and Hannah came over for MORE Rock Band. Yeah, we kind of enjoy that game. They had never played before, but they really got into it! ha ha! After that, two games of Cranium and another late night!

Sunday morning, Katie and Noah got up ready to grace the world with their horrible demeanors! I think they had a "grandparent sleepover hangover." They were fussing and crying if you even touched something the wrong way! Katie also had a cough. SO, we decided to go back to bed! They got up at about 8am, and we laid back down about 9:30am! They both went to sleep and slept HARD until about 11am when I got them back up. The reason I wanted to be sure they were well-rested is that we were going to enjoy the last birthday outing for Noah. We had given him tickets to the Rome Braves game for Sunday afternoon. It was Noah's first baseball game. He really enjoyed it. We got rained on the first little bit, but then the sun came out and it was STEAMING HOT!

Our package came with 4 tickets, 4 popcorns, 4 drinks, and 4 hotdogs for $25. We enjoyed it, but about the 6th inning they were bored and terribly hot, so at the end of the 7th we left.

It was a fun day, but, WOW we are resting today! I am so glad we have Monday mornings to get over our weekends! ha ha!!!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

$3 Worth of Fun!

We took a trip to the Chattanooga Zoo and Coolidge Park in Tennessee today. Thanks to our friend, Christi, we found out that on Wednesdays, admission to the zoo is only $1/person! Christi actually wasn't able to make it, but 3 of us took our 2 kids/each for a fun day! Here they are posing with the giant chimp.

Noah, Brendan, Zion, Katie, Canaan, and Kaitlyn.

This bird was would peck on the window at the kids which they thought was hilarious! Below they are sitting on the fountain in front of the red panda exhibit.

Now for a silly pose! Pray a special blessing on Ms. Bethany and Ms. Beverly for accompanying the kids into the petting zoo area! ha ha!

Noah loved petting the dog the best. Go figure! Below they are on their way out of the train car that was the observation area for the cougars.

After the zoo we went over to Coolidge Park by the river for a picnic and water play fun.
Kaitlyn decided she needed to work on her tan, so here are the girls soaking up some sun!

They couldn't sit still for long at all... I think Katie regretted agreeing to the whole sun sitting thing! ha!

The boys enjoyed the wide open spaces for running, playing tag, and more running!
On to the water fun! Huge fountains and stone animal statues shooting fun fun!

I think we got more than our money's worth of fun today, wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Unexpected Surprise!

Tonight after Noah's t-ball game, we went to Fuddrucker's for dinner. We had the coloring pages out of the Bartow Buzz magazine where we could get free kids' that was an easy choice!
When we got there it was 30 minutes till close and we just happened to arrive just before the evening entertainment was about to leave. We got a private performance from the wonderfully talented balloon artist and magician! This lady was TRULY a balloon artist!

Here she is doing some magic tricks. You can see the balloon hats she made for the kids. She did little tricks and things while she created them. Noah has Spiderman sitting on his shoulders! See the face on the red "head" part? The clear part is his web shooting out of his hands and you can see his blue legs hanging over his shoulders! It is so cute!
Katie has a fancy crazy hat of some sort.

I should have taken pictures of her other works of art....we also have a balloon bouquet of flowers, a bear holding balloons, and a bunch of grapes made out of balloons.

They were truly amazed by the card "tricks."

Daddy got the lady's hat, so here are the three of them together with their crazy hats!

Noah must be pretty special...he got even more presents tonight!
Mario Baseball for the Wii, and...

Tickets to the Rome Braves game on Sunday!
(yes, those are fake tickets I printed...the real ones are in a safe place!)

We couldn't have planned a better evening for Noah! It was pure coincidence (providence) that the entertainment happened to be there and by completely NOT busy so we got our own private little birthday show. It was FANTASTIC!

Happy Birthday Blue Eyes!

Noah was born 5 years ago, today. At 4:58pm.
He was 8 pounds, 4 ounces (I think I am right on the ounces..)

Noah on his 5th birthday!
*we wet his hair to spike it and I didn't noticed his shirt was wet...oops!*

Today he weighs 45 pounds and is 43 inches tall!

Two of my favorite photos of my blue eyed baby boy:

Isn't he the cutest?!

Today is also a very special day for our best friends!
They celebrate their 8th wedding anniversary today!

Happy Anniversary Andy and Bethany!
Andy is serving our country in Afghanistan right now, so they definitely deserve our best wishes and prayers on their special day! Go on over to her blog and send them greetings!!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

School Days

A photo of our classroom at the beginning of last school year.

I have a tentative starting date for our school year 09-10. July 13, 2009.

We should have the rest of our supplies by that date, so why not? It is too miserably hot to go outdoors. We don't have a pool. The kids are bored. Our classroom is in the nice cool basement....

We went yesterday to a materials display where we ordered the rest of our materials and I was told it would take 2-3 weeks for them to come in. I guess over the next couple of weeks I will be clearing out and scheduling and getting ready for day 1.

We will be using Abeka this year for most everything. I came to the realization that while I enjoy using "real living literature" as they say for teaching science, social studies, etc, I really dislike the non-organized structure of that method. While some can make it structured enough for their family, I can't handle being given an inch of disorganization...I take 10 miles every time! So, we have our "workbooks" which will give us a timeline and scope/sequence and I will add to it with literature and projects.

We used Sonlight last year, which was a complete literature perspective. All the lesson plans were done for you. What I did not like about it was being stuck with those lesson plans. It was also difficult to find a happy medium between their Language and Reading levels. If I put Katie in the 1st grade material then the reading was entirely too easy. If I jumped to the 2nd grade material then the language portion was too advanced. I was able to look at the entire year of 1st grade reading/language from Abeka at the materials display and it seems to hit exactly what we need. The reading portion is challenging without being too difficult with the language and spelling.

Katie will be doing first grade this year with Abeka, and Noah will be doing K5. I know this seems like the same exact grade they did last year, but it really isn't because Abeka averages about one year more advanced than any other curriculum. The Kindergarten Abeka that Noah will be doing is pretty much similar to everyone else's "first grade" material.

I even ordered an Abeka math workbook for each of them, though I will use all my other resources to teach the concepts, just using the workbook for practice.

The only thing I will not have ready for the very beginning of school is our art. I love learning about and doing art projects/pieces with the kids and they love it too, but that is next on the wishlist and will wait until later. Maybe we will try to start it for the second half of the year. I kind of plan to do a year round schedule anyway, so we can throw it in whenever.

I am really excited about starting fresh! It will be nice to have almost four months of school done before our trip. Then, after that, who knows what exciting projects we will have on the horizon ;)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Play Ball!!!!!!

Noah had his first t-ball game tonight! It was.... so many thing!
Cute, awesome, hilarious, fun....
Their team is the Timber Rattlers. Two of his friends, Canaan and Joshua are also on the same team.
It has been so neat for those boys to be able to play together, especially Noah and Canaan because Bethany happens to be living here right now while her husband is deployed. It has been a very special thing for them and something that who knows when/if they will ever be able to do together again since Canaan is part of a military family.
Anyway, here are Noah and Katie before the game...(above and below).

Above: prayer before the game starts (love a Christian league!)

Above: Noah hanging out in his field position.
Below: The team waiting for their turn at bat.
Noah is on the left end, Joshua is on the right end, and Canaan is beside Joshua.

Above: Noah "on deck."
Below: Waiting for the pitch. The get two coach pitches then they bring out the tee.


Running to third, then.... playing in the sand on third.

End of the game...

At one point in the game the ball was hit right to Noah and he got it and started to throw to first base, but....
his glove was on the wrong hand! He was so confused and the look on his face was priceless as he tried several times to throw the ball but he didn't let go because it obviously didn't feel right...for a second it looked like he might try to put it in his glove and throw it with his right hand anyway, but he finally just let it go with his left. The coaches politely came over and helped him get his glove on the correct hand.
This is definitely going to be a fun..and entertaining experience!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

McKay's, Penguins, and a God Thing!

Corey was very sweet today to *offer* to take us up to Knoxville to the McKay's location there. I was hoping that because that store was 2 stories it would have more selection for homeschool materials, but it actually didn't. The good news is I was able to find the other books I needed anyway! yay!

Look at all the books I got today for $36! Even better, it was taken from the credit I got last time when Bethany and I went! Yay! If you look at the picture, the ones with an "x" are actually from the free bin in front of the store. (If you look very closely, you can see the head of "Keenan Thompson" on the front of a Fat Albert the movie DVD. This was in the free bin so we rescued it, ha ha!) This time they had TONS of kids books in there!!!! My three little ones are in the front (the school books) and the rest are Katie and Noah's choices. We gave them each "$10" (store credit of course) to spend. I am thrilled that I was able to find the other things I was looking for to get school going.

After our trip up to Knoxville, he headed back and made a stop at the Aquarium in Chattanooga. We had talked this morning about doing something fun with the kids and they both had some birthday money available that we talked with them about using to join the Aquarium. We have been members before and loved being able to go up there anytime, but now the kids are older and we thought they would enjoy it even more. It only costs $100 even for a family of four to join. We are thinking that next time we go we will add the "plus 1" option for $35 which means one more adult could go with us anytime we go for free. It would have cost us $78 to go anyway, so the membership is really a better value for anyone in my opinion.

We arrived at the Aquarium around 5:30pm. We didn't have very much time to spend there today, but we did see the penguins. I had been excited about seeing the penguins ever since I heard they had the new exhibit, so that was fun.

Katie always posing in front of the camera!

Those penguins are FAST swimmers. Maybe I will get better photos next time.

Jellyfish are always beautiful to watch...kind of weird too though.

Inside the shark cage!!!! AGH!!!!!!

Katie took this picture of me and Corey.

Me and the kids!

Pondering the jellyfish. This one at the bottom is my favorite photo of the day.

It was a long day! We did very well though considering we didn't leave the house until noon! We got home around 9:30pm!

Oh, and here is a note of encouragement...I have to give thanks today for something amazing!

I have been buying our school curriculum off and on for the past couple of months, anything I could get used and in good shape. Out of the blue a couple of months ago as well, we found out that we were owed a refund from Comcast from when we switched carriers for our high speed internet. The refund coming is for the amount of $120.
Today, after I completed my list of all the materials I could buy used I made a list from the catalog and websites of all the neccesities we have left to pick up. This includes our consumable books (workbooks, etc) and one item I have not been able to find anywhere used for a great price (math blocks).

Just take a WILD guess at how much $ we need to buy the rest of our necessities for getting the 09 school year off to a good start?


Isn't God GREAT?!