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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Black and White Images

I think of you in black and white
As images fill my mind
Of old wrinkled photographs
And dark, shadowed smiles

A time that no longer exists
A picture that deceives
For the world was not painted
In the black and white we see

Your world back then was much the same
As the world we live in today
Colors as vivid as springtime
A bright world to run and play

My mind often attempts to stray
Outside the printed lines
I long to see you in my world
But fail each time I try

I long to reach into the photos
To touch, to feel, to hear
To become a part of the past
From which I did appear

The images that you’ve captured
Have imprisoned you in time
For you will live forever in them
Embedded in my mind

What will I leave for my children
And their children yet to be
May the images that I give to them
Paint a true picture of me

May they hold them dearly
A thread to guide their way
Real people and a past that
Unlike images will not fade

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Planet Real Estate

We've been reviewing the solar system for the past two weeks. Yesterday, I let the kids have a little fun with the information they've learned about each planet. I gave them each a poster board and told them to create a real estate poster for a chosen planet. On the poster, they were to draw the planet, then write convincing reasons for moving there. It was great to see what they came up with.

Patrick chose Jupiter. Here is a quote from his poster:

"Jupiter is awesome if you don't like water. You'll definitely like the size. Jupiter..an idea place to live."

Madison and Carter both chose Saturn.

Madison wrote:
"If you love rings and beautiful things, then you should zoom to Saturn. If you are too crowded on Earth, come to Saturn. It is nine times bigger than Earth! If you like getting dizzy, come to Saturn today!"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Peach Icees!

I had my first one for the summer tonight!

Madison brought it to me when she came home from the ballpark. What a sweetie...she knows how much I love peach icees!!! Now it really feels like summer!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

He Can See!

My Carter had to get glasses! He has been complaining of not being able to see the dry erase board during school. Then, he started having trouble hitting in baseball. One day, he put my glasses on and said that he could see better. So, Jeff took him for an eye appointment and found out that his vision was 20/100! I don't know how he has not ended up with a broken nose behind that plate every game catching, much less throwing the ball back and forth in the yard with Jeff. Also, it explains why Carter has been having a difficult time with copying work from the board. I have had the hardest time trying to figure out why he couldn't simply copy work from the board to his paper...poor thing wasn't even seeing what was on the board. I feel like such a bad mommy for not catching it sooner. I guess he didn't know to voice that he wasn't seeing well because he had just started thinking that what he was seeing was normal.
He loves his new glasses. If any of my children had to get them, I'm glad it was Carter because he still hasn't reached the point that he worries about what other people think of him. All he knows is that he has cool new glasses and can see better...and hit better.
Carter had his first game today since getting his glasses. He stated that he can actually see the red seams on the ball now when it is coming toward him!!! The team won 19 to 3...yippee.
Afterwards, we had opening ceremonies. I love to see all of the boys in their sweet little baseball uniforms. I'm not a very sporty person at all, but having a child out there can make you fall in love with the sport. My mother-in-law always told me that it would happen that way......she was right. Of course, she loved sports even before her boys played anything. I can't think of very many sports that she hasn't either coached or played...or both.

The kids all had company for the rest of the day. I let each one of them have a friend over. We went for pizza after we left the ball park and then just played here. I forgot how great it is to stay outside all day, then come in tired and dirty at the end of the day.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Our Farm Fieldtrip

We had a homeschool field trip to a farm today! We ended up with around 70 people. It was my first homeschool field trip to coordinate, so I was very happy that we had a good turnout.
First, the kids got to milk a cow and feed the calves with a bottle. Madison and Patrick both declined milking the cow, but Carter was ready for it! Of course, they all wanted to feed the babies!

Next, the children got to hold and pet baby animals. I think everyone's favorite was the baby pig, however, they didn't get to hold him because he was too rowdy. Personally, I think the baby duck was the cutest!

The Louisiana Hay Maze was so cool! There were hay bales put out in the shape of Louisiana with smaller bales to represent rivers and highways. There were markers set out for major cities. The kids had to find their way from the mouth of the Mississippi River to the location of the farm. Next, the kids got to plant corn and harvest radishes.

Then, we had a little tour of the rest of the farm. At each stop, the kids learned about a new farm animal and had the opportunity to feed them. At the end of the tour, we had a picnic, followed by a hayride back to the Country Store, where the fieldtrip began. I was so pleased with the day. I was amazed with how much more the children got to do today than they did when Madison and I went to the farm with her third grade school class...I guess because it was a much smaller group today. Last time, we didn't get to do the maze or the planting and sowing. I guess it's just easier for them to get to everything with the smaller group and so many parents there to help. It was an amazing day!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Woman's Role

It is hard for women. Whatever they choose, they will pay the price.
Any woman knows that the duties of a home are a full time job. Those duties are going to be there even if mom chooses or is forced to work. So often, a woman carries the burden of a full time, or even part time job, yet still comes home to fulfill a full day's load of work at home in the time span of an evening. Then, she so often is loaded down with guilt for not being home and more available to her family. If she chooses to work to fulfill her career, it takes the joy away. If she is forced to work for income, it makes the burden even heavier.
On the other hand, the woman who chooses to stay home faces her own challenges. Staying home and managing a home...putting everything she has into it....is an honorable job for a woman. I'm glad that women are not forced to do it, as they once were, but am also glad that some still get the chance to do it if they choose. However, they are also faced with criticism for putting all of themselves into a job that is not often considered worthwhile, especially in today's society. Some will tell them that they are wasting their lives by not fulfilling meaningful careers while they are young. Others tell them that they are ruining their children's lives for not letting them go to daycare at a young age...they won't be ready to "socialize" properly when they start school.
So, my question is....what is a woman to do. There is really no clear, set role that a woman is expected to play. A man goes to work to support his family. He knows what his role is and the lines are clearly defined. If he does choose to stay home, he may get criticized for it, but it isn't something that many men feel pulled to do, unlike women who either feel convicted to do it or have that naturally instinct to do it. Many say that women spend their entire lives feeling guilty...is it any small wonder?
I thank God that I am able to stay home, as well as homeschool my children, because it is what I chose to do. It was my heart's desire to be home. While in college, I always said that there was no way that I was going to go through so much to get my degree only to set my career aside to raise children. Did I ever change my mind when they placed Madison into my arms. I am thankful that I have been able to follow my heart, but I have been criticized for it. I am sad that there are some women who can't follow their hearts. I'm sad that there are women who follow a career with guilt and women who stay home with criticism. Mostly, I wish women would quit knocking each other down. Instead of trying to convince each other that we are doing the right thing, we should support one another as women and moms. The right choice for one woman may not be an option, or choice, for another. We are each responsible for our own families and will answer for our own decisions. The world is hard enough on us as it is......we can at least give each other the support that we need. After all, no matter which choices we make, we are all still women and moms....that's one thing we will always share.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This Is What Happens

When you don't have Easy Bake packages to use in the Easy Bake Oven, you have to get creative! This is what Madison came up with when she had to use what we had in the kitchen to bake with. From what I understand, it consists of bananas, marshmallows, Hershey's, and decorating icing. Carter is the only one that ate any of it, but we all ooohed and aaahed over how nice they looked. Who knows, we may have been the ones missing out!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Yellow Blanket

When I graduated from college I received a homemade gift...
A Yellow Quilt
It was already special to me because it was hand made by someone who meant a lot to me...
My Dad's Mother.
It was made even more special by the fact that she made it for my Dad and Stepmother to give to me. I remember meeting at Jeff's parent's house after graduation to have a small graduation party with our families. While sitting in the den, my Dad brought the quilt in and spread it out on the floor. I could have never known at the time what that quilt would come to mean to our family.
We folded it up and packed it with our other things to return to our home...a home that we were renting, but still felt like it belonged to us. It immediately became part of our lives. On cold winter nights, it became our extra blanket. When the nieces and nephews came to visit, it made a wonderful picnic area. It was a perfect companion on those cozy days in the chair with my favorite book and nothing but time on my hands.
When we moved to our next rent home, it went with us. It covered our extra bed and welcomed guests to our home. Finally, when we bought our first home, it was there. When Jeff and I were so anxious to spend our first night in our new home that we spread blankets on the floor so we would have a place to sleep, yellow blanket was there.
When the joy of our first expected child came, so did the nausea and exhaustion. I spent many hours on our couch with yellow blanket trying to get past that "joy stealing" first trimester of my pregnancy. The joy did come...so did Madison. Within 3 years, we had our boys, Patrick and Carter, and a new home beside Jeff's parents. So many milestones...rolling over, pulling up to knees, crawling.....happened on yellow blanket after that. It was the first thing I would grab as I headed outside with my three babies to enjoy the first warm day of spring. The clean yellow surface of the blanket began to show strips of grass stains and circles of spit up stains. I was told that I should buy another blanket to use outside so I wouldn't ruin my good one. It never occurred to me to. I didn't.
I never will.
It has been through too much with us. It has served as a table for pizza on Friday nights followed by living room camp outs, in which it never failed to warm my children through the night. It has brought in every New Year with us as we spread it out for games and hotdogs cooked in the fireplace. It has been there for "Friday Night Bingo", every inch of it covered with bingo chips and dollar prizes. We've spilled everything on it from coke and paint water to egg dye and ketchup.
As I sprayed it with Spray N Wash yet another time before I washed it, I knew that the spots would still be there when I pulled it from the washer. I knew it before I ever spread it out on the kitchen floor and called the children in to dye eggs on it. I felt a little twinge of guilt for having not taken better care of my gift, made by my Grandmother's own hands. I didn't look at it as I moved it from the washer to the dryer. As I heard the dryer stop spinning, I ran to pull it out and spread it out on the floor to examine it. It didn't surprise me when I felt my heart jump for joy when I saw the egg dye stains still there....right beside the craft paint spots and the green strips of grass stain....concrete reminders of the times we have spent on yellow blanket.
More importantly, they are reminders of the time that we have spent together.
Did my Grandmother know this as she stitched the quilt together.
I think she did.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Skating Day

Today was our monthy homeschool meeting at the skating rink. As always, we take this time to sign up for fieldtrips, contests, clubs, etc. I was asked to plan our April fieldtrip and decided on a cool farm where the kids can learn as well as play. After today, there are over 70 people signed up to go! I am so excited about the turnout!!!
We had a great time today, as always. We only have one more monthly meeting at the skating rink before summer break...woo hoo. Where has the year gone?!?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter 2007

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Baseball, Buddies, Bunnies, and Baskets

That's what our day consisted of! We started our day out with Carter's practice baseball game. As predicted, it was very cold, however, very worth it. The team played so well and won.

Afterwards, we went out to eat pizza, along with 2 of the boys' friends. On the way home, we picked up a cousin for Madison to played with and went home. The boys all played together while the girls and I had fun in the kitchen. First, we made Rice Krispie treats. I tried to make them pink, which only succeeded in grossing the boys out because, as they put it, they looked like hamburger meat. However, they didn't have a problem with eating them! Afterwards, the girls and I put the eggs on to boil to dye later and then cut the egg cartons up to make a bouquet of flowers. They gathered little sticks from outside while I cut out leaves to add to the stems. They painted them different colors and we put them in a vase. We're going to sit them in the middle of the table tomorrow during our Easter meal.

Next, we called the boys in to join us and dyed the eggs. Of course, with so many kids and so many containers of egg dye, it got a little messy....but we got it done. Now, it's up to the Easter Bunny to do the rest! The kids have the eggs sitting out for him to hide and their empty baskets waiting to be filled. All I have to say is.....I'm glad the Easter Bunny has to hide those eggs and fill those baskets because I'm way to tired to do it!!! Thanks Bunny!!! We'll leave you a Rice Krispie meat....I mean treat... as a nice reward!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Come On!!!

Let me get this straight! We literally do not get a winter at all. Then, when we have finally resolved ourselves to the fact that our sorry excuse for winter is officially over, the temps fall back into the 30's and 40's....and this all happening right when the baseball games are starting and Easter right around the corner. Is that about right?
WE FROZE at Carter's game tonight. Now, I know that we are wimps here in Louisiana when it comes to cool/cold weather, but the wind was cutting right through our extra layers of clothing and too thin throw blankets! It's not what we are supposed to feel like at a baseball game. At one point, I literally had my head under my blanket begging the poor victims to each side of me to give me an update on the game if anything exciting happened! I'll be the first to admit, I am a wimp when it comes to cold weather. There aren't too many things that I will sit out in the cold for...not even with my favorite blue blanket!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spring Break

We're on spring break this week. I let the kids off the same week as the public schools so they could play with their friends who will also be on break. As it turns out, it doesn't feel much like spring today. I think our highs will only be in the 60's....we had a cool front move in last night. It seems like we always have rain or a cool front for Easter. I was hoping for a dry, sunny day this year! We are spending the day with Jeff's parents next door. I finished filling plastic eggs and goody bags today to take with us. I love watching all of the cousins get together to hide/hunt eggs.
We have our Children's Choir Easter party tonight at church. Madison and I have also been filling little eggs for that today. I'm just glad we're finally all well enough to go. Carter has baseball practice afterwards, so it will be a busy evening. I missed his last two practices and his first practice game, so I'll be glad to be back at the ballpark. Oh, Carter made his first out at home plate at his practice game last week....he's the catcher again. He was so happy. I hated that I missed it, but like I said before, he usually does something cool when I'm not at the game :)!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Planet Earth

Discovery Channel's "Planet Earth" is an amazing series that took 5 years to film. I am so excited about it that I am considering asking for the entire DVD series for Christmas! A new episode comes on every Sunday night. Nothing that I have ever read to the kids and no pictures that I have ever shown them brings our planet to life like this series. To me, it is the next best thing to taking them to the places that we study. I am taping the episodes and plan to let the kids watch them during our Science time. It's not what I had planned for Science, but we are going to work it in. I think the series will give the kids, as well as myself, a new appreciation for planet earth and our place on it. It's going to be amazing!