Monday, January 26, 2015

Snow Day

It's snowing here.  Not the big puffy flakes that really pile up, and certainly not a blizzard like the northeast is expecting.  We may not even get more than about an inch (although we are all hoping for much more, LOL).  But it doesn't matter--I am so happy anyway because tomorrow is a real snow day for me!!

I'm supposed to be over at our elementary co-op tomorrow morning, so I planned for anatomy and life science to not meet this week, but instead to just cover the chapters at home and do the homework I had already prepared and assigned.  About dinnertime, the co-op cancelled for tomorrow because the church where we meet wasn't sure they could get the parking lots and sidewalks cleared off in time for us.  Soooo . . . a morning where I don't have to get the younger kids out the door to their co-op AND one where I don't have to teach?!?  That is a vacation!  Rivendell will still meet--we don't really cancel unless the power is out--but I won't be teaching.

Instead, I think I will make hot chocolate tomorrow morning.  We stopped at Cracker Barrel for dinner on our way home from Great Wolf Lodge back in December, and Anna picked the hot chocolate as her drink with her kids meal.  YUM!  It was so rich and chocolatey, with whipped cream on top.  We were all jealous.  Bob took some grouping of younger kids to Cracker Barrel another morning before church so they could also have hot chocolate, but alas--Cracker Barrel doesn't serve hot chocolate in the mornings.  (Haven't they heard some people greatly prefer it to coffee??)  Anyhow, Bob was relating this sad tale to the other C family in our co-op one Sunday.  This past Sunday they gave us a lovely hot chocolate kit--a gallon of whole milk, a bag of Ghirardelli chocolate caramel hot cocoa mix, and a can of whipped cream!  Isn't that an awesome gift?  I think tomorrow is the perfect time to break into it!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Not an Option

It's time to register for AP exams now.  Christine had a bizarre encounter while doing so a few days ago at her local high school.  She had turned in the forms and was chatting with a counselor about colleges when the head of the guidance department came out and joined the conversation.  She said, "Ohhhh, you're homeschooling?  I'm so sorry, but college isn't an option for your son.  You have to count Carnegie units, and homeschoolers can't do that.  If you don't have an accredited diploma, you can't get accepted to college."

Wow!  Well, I guess that's that!  All that work for nothing!  Too bad Nathan has been offered a 4-year type 1 ROTC scholarship, since he won't be able to get accepted to any colleges.  And such a waste that he received an academy nomination from not only our Representative, but also our Senator, something that is apparently so rare in our area that the accepted word on the streets is that it simply doesn't happen.  Ah well . . .

No, obviously the lady was completely out to lunch, although it makes one wonder what other bad advice she is handing out, if she is so off about this.  I mean, really??  She's never heard about any of the homeschooled students who have been successful in college, such that she thinks it is impossible to even get into college?  This isn't the 80's!

Christine responded with remarkable restraint, however.  She just smiled and said, "Thanks, I'll get right on that . . ."  See, we're pretty much at the mercy of the local high school especially for AP testing.  I've heard horror stories from homeschoolers in other areas who have a really, really hard time finding seats for the AP exams.  Schools are not required to let outsiders take the tests, and many schools don't offer very many AP classes and are unwilling to order tests and provide proctors for tests none of their students take.  Unfortunately, only high schools are allowed to administer the AP tests, so if you can't find a seat, you are so out of luck.  But fortunately for us, the local schools have no problem with homeschoolers coming in and taking exams, AND the schools offer all the AP exams.  We definitely do not want to mess up a very good thing, and often people who confidently spout off very wrong information do not take kindly to being corrected!

But I'm letting everyone out there who might possibly be reading this blog know--homeschoolers can indeed get accepted at colleges.  All this work is NOT just a colossal waste of time!  Whew!

Friday, January 09, 2015

One Week Down

Okay, we made it through the first week back.  Whew!  Some of us were even less happier about the whole thing than others!

One good thing is that my thumb is finally better.  I briefly contemplated amputation last Friday, when I called at 6:30 AM to make an appointment, only to find out that Bethesda was closed because it was a federal holiday.  I continued soaking it in epsom salts and taking motrin around the clock, but it was still very sore and swollen Saturday.  Nathan took it upon himself to lance it and squeeze the pus out, and he did it much more gently than the doctor back in 2008, so I didn't even see stars!  Yesterday I could finally write without sticking my thumb straight up in the air so there was no pressure on it.  Yay!

We were all incredibly thrilled to get SNOW on Tuesday morning.  Our other co-op was cancelled, which made for a nice practice run.  We had to get lunches ready and get all up and going, but then at 8:15 we found out it was cancelled, so then we could just kind of relax.  Now hopefully we'll be ready for next week!  Rivendell of course was not cancelled.  We just skyped in the morning.  We were planning on trying 3-way skype for the afternoon, but we could never get all 3 of us on at the same time, so we had to resort to google hangouts.  It worked okay, although I don't feel like it catches a conversation as well.  It's a lot slower to switch from person to person.  But it worked.  After classes were done, the kids played outside.  I had organized the front closets before New Year's Day, which was timely.  Everyone had appropriate snow wear!

I had thought I was totally and completely ready for classes on Tuesday because I really was on top of things for anatomy.  I made up the quiz a week earlier, and I had the lab all typed up and ready to go.  I even am a little ahead on preparations for the next few weeks!  But then I thought I really should look at the life science syllabus, just to make sure we were where I thought we were.  Whoops!  As it turns out, I had planned on having them read 2 chapters over the break, and take one test.  I did not even LOOK at the syllabus when we were having our last class before break for some reason, so no one did anything except take the midterm exam.  Ahhh . . . not so very on top of things at all!  So that necessitated staying up late Monday night trying to figure out how to get back on track.  And then I realized Monday morning that I never actually sent the quiz to Siri to print out for Eric and Celia.  Ha!  I keep hoping that my brain will come out of this fog, and that pregnancy has not caused me to lose all these brain cells permanently, but I do worry . . .

We're also dealing with a little stomach bug, particularly with Micah and Drew.  They both threw up Tuesday (yes, it was a big mess in the middle of the night--thanks for asking, but I'll spare you the details) and ran fevers and were generally miserable Wednesday.  Micah is fine now, but Drew is still incredibly crabby.  I think his issues are complicated by his teething his 2 year molars right now, so he is a snotty mess with diarrhea, poor guy.  He is more snuggly than normal, which is nice except when I want to actually get anything done!
Verity is just her normal happy self, pictured here telling you all about this neat toy in front of her.  She has a lot to say!  She is also the absolute most cooperative baby.  Once she found her thumb several weeks ago, she will pretty much sleep until I get her up, so she can be as flexible as I need her to be.  She is such a gift!  I really don't think I could have handled a baby like Micah, who was in all ways the most UN-cooperative baby, right now!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year!!

We rang in the new year last night at 9:00 at the annual party at the L's house.  This morning we're watching the Rose Bowl parade.  I'm a little sad because I feel like this is really the last day of break, and it's been such a nice one!  My absolute favorite week of the the year is the week in between Christmas and New Year.  Before Christmas, we may be done with school technically, but it is not restful by any mean.  Since I am not really organized, especially in years when I have a baby, I never have all my gifts brought, wrapped, etc., plus there's food to make.  But after Christmas--everything calms down.  Ahhh . . .  it was wonderful.

I felt like I made a stab at conquering some of the clutter.  While my mom was still here, I made a list of some areas I would like to go through.  The big surprise is that I actually accomplished things on the list! I cleaned out and organized our 2 small closets by the front door that have all our snow stuff in them.  I put everything that wasn't needed for this year down in the basement, so hopefully it won't be such a pain to find stuff for everyone (if it ever snows . . .)  I did realize we need a larger pair of men's snow boots (8 or 9), but so far I haven't been able to track any down. Apparently people who weren't having babies did this sort of thing back in October and bought out Target and Walmart!

I went through Caleb and Jonathan's closet and got rid of a ton of bigger boy clothes that we will most likely never need (husky-sized pants that we've been given, for example).  I cleaned out the cabinet next to the fridge, which was full of unused baby bottles and sippy cups.  With just one baby left to use them, it seemed silly to keep an entire cabinet stuffed full to the gills with those things.  I got rid of more little boy clothes in the basement storage room, including an entire bag of baby boy shoes, which are the cutest things ever.  So yeah, that was hard, but still . . . it feels good to be able to walk through the storage room again.  I threw away a ton of old games and puzzles that are missing most of their pieces.  Those had been in a closet out in the TV room in the basement, and younger kids felt too free to just take out whatever, so it was such a  mess.  Drove me crazy.  I moved our collection of Lincoln Logs and plastic army men into that closet, so now kids can get those out.  It won't irritate me so much if those get lost, LOL.  I also went through a few boxes in the storage room and got rid of things like my collection of log cabin magazines from 1996ish.  My parents had property in Alma, CO (between Fairplay and Breckenridge), and we had the best of plans to build a cabin on it.  But in 1997 we had Nathan, and  . . . well, the cabin never happened.  Then neighbors encroached on the property on both sides with septic systems and wells, and now the property wouldn't support a house big enough for really any of us.  So sadly my parents had to sell the property.  I'm not giving up the dream of a cabin in Colorado, though--maybe someday, for our grandkids!  We'll probably need at least 2 cabins, LOL.

Oh, I found some folders of stuff from our Okinawa days that my mom had saved for me.  I did not throw that stuff away.  It included this note of wisdom from a space-a trip we took in June, 1981, in a C-141.  My mom wrote, "Well, then don't complain about being bored if you are choosing to not play with things in your backpack."  Words of wisdom indeed, and ones that have in fact been re-uttered to this next generation.  (I know the date of this gem because on the back of the note is a drawing of a C-141 cockpit and the date.  Evidently I DID start doing something at least with the notebook in my backpack!)

In what I feel is my biggest accomplishment this past week, I started catching up on my Christmas scrapbook!  I love this scrapbook of all our Christmas letters and pictures we sent out, plus a few pictures of what we did on each Christmas Day.  You wouldn't think that would be too much to keep up with over the years, and yet it was.  For us, Christmas stopped in 2007, it seemed!  I had copies of all the letters and pictures from the intervening years, but no pictures of Christmas Day.  So I made a massive snapfish photo print order. I also included a ton of pictures of the girls, in hopes that this summer I will be able to catch up on their individual albums, where I do a 2-page spread of each year.  So I ordered over 300 pictures--none with a date stamp--so it will probably take me until the summer to sort out what pictures are from what year.  What was I thinking??  At least the Christmas ones were easier to sort out, although did I make one mistake and put a picture on the page for the wrong year.  When all your kids look the same, and you haven't moved in 10 years--well, it gets really hard to tell what year is what.  I'm not actually all caught up on the scrapbook, but at least Christmas ends with 2011 now--4 years later!

I had hopes to finish the scrapbook up through 2013 the past few nights (because I just can't do it while the younger kids are up.  I just can't . . .), but somehow I have developed a nasty infection under the thumbnail of my left hand.  My thumb is swollen and throbbing, and cutting and writing just aren't happening right now.  (I am left-handed.)  I've been taking motrin and soaking it in warm water with Epsom salts, but it is not improving.  It reminds me of the terrible time I had with an infected finger back in March 2008, and the awful lancing in the Bethesda ER.  Bob was TDY, we all had strep and pink-eye, AND my hangnail got infected.  Okay, after rereading that sad saga, I realize I am actually doing just fine! Nothing to complain about at all!

So our new year is starting off with a bit of a stutter (just don't touch my thumb!), but hopefully that is not an omen of things to come, LOL.  At least we have a few more days before we start back with co-ops, practices, etc.  I hope all of you have a wonderful year in 2015, where you draw closer to the Lord and become more like Him!