Monday, June 22, 2009

OOOOOOOOOOOOklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains

We have a goal to visit every state in the United States. So far we have both been to over half. On Saturday June 20 we went to Oklahoma for the first time.
The weather was stormy, and the roads were slick. Just outside of Wichita, this diesel didn't make it around the turn onto the freeway. It seemed like everyone was fine, but what a mess.
The most unique state sign I have ever seen. Usually they look like a road sign, but not this one.

At the Oklahoma City Temple. Jacob and I were both able to do a session.

This truck is meant to be like this.
Hyrum was loving all the wacky semi trucks we saw on this trip.

This is actually Kansas, but look at that wheat.
Oklahoma was quaint. Seemed quite sparse, even Oklahoma City, but it was pretty. We liked the quiet roads, and fields of wheat and corn.


Mary Emma finally started crawling on Thursday June 18. Make sure to turn the sound up, you get really funny commentary from Camilla.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our Growing Mary Emma

I love my blankies! (and my thumb.)

I love sharing with daddy (if only I could actually get some of that popsicle.)
I hate vegetables, and dinners, but I like fruit!

Super Starz

The kids made these glasses at library storytime.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Poptart Mistake

Growing up we never had "sugary" cereals, as my mom called them. We had the basics, oatmeal, cornflakes, shredded Wheat (the big kind), Grape Nuts, etc. I'm the same way. I'm not big into heavily processed foods, and I won't buy that sugary stuff my kids are always bringing to me from the bottom shelf of the cereal aisle. With the occassional exception of Peanut Butter Crunch or Cocoa Pebbles for Jacob, we eat pretty healthy breakfasts.

Well, yesterday I bought Poptarts. I had a coupon, they were on sale, and Jacob is California for another couple of days. Why not give the kids a treat. They were thrilled, and when I woke up this morning, very tired, not feeling very well, and in a hurry, it seemed the perfect morning to do a quick Poptart breakfast. After the novelty of getting them out of the toaster was over, and after they had taken a few nibbles around the outside where the frosting hadn't covered, they were through. Hyrum started to cry, "but I wanted cereal for breakfast." Camilla drank her milk and said, "I'm done." And so I threw their easy and fun breakfast in the garbage and gave them what they really wanted, nutrition. Maybe Jacob will eat the rest, because I'm not toucjomg them.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Potatoes in Kansas.

Just want you all to know that the potato alarm went off today. Now don't worry, it wasn't a real potato, just the practice alarm they sound off every Monday at noon. It's good, however, to know that we will be warned in case a real potato ever does descend on Junction City.

(Hyrum has no concept of a tornado, and so he calls it a potato. Today when the alarm sounded, he got so excited, "it's the potato!" I often wish I could crawl into his imagination to find out what he is actually envisioning. Does he see a giant potato descending on the city, or perhaps potatoes raining down on the city, or better yet, a wily potato sounding an alarm as a sort of game where we run down the stairs as fast as we can? I love three year old boys.)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Baby Baby

There is a chimpanzee baby at the zoo.
The two babies found each other quite intriguing.

I love my bath

Mary Emma absolutely loves her bath. From the day she was born until now, she is happiest in the bath.

I survived my first year of homeschool, but did Camilla?

Here she is, not even five years old, my brand new Kindergartener at the school of mom. We are at Mt. Vernon, commonly referred to in our home as George Washington's House. It seems now like forever ago, when we were in Maryland, when Mary Emma was in me, when I was probably the most clueless homeschool teacher on the planet, but I survived, and yes, I think she did too.

The decision to homeschool isn't easy, actually I think it has been, and in a lesser degree continues to be, the hardest decision I have ever made. Harder than going on a mission leaving Mr. Perfect behind, harder than deciding to marry Mr. Perfect (actually that really wasn't all that hard), harder than putting Jacob on a plane and sending him off to Iraq. The decision to homeschool means you are putting your precious child up for an experiment, and you don't know if you are going to ruin them in the process. Like a friend of mine says, as she is about to embark on this homeschool journey, "what scares me is that I won't be able to blame the teachers, or the school anymore." We homeschool because we love our children, not that unhomeschooled children aren't loved, but we homeschool to make sure our children get the education they need and deserve, we don't homeschool to ruin them, and we are so often so afraid that we will. So, did I ruin Camilla this year, let's find out:

Camilla can read, and can read really quite well. She stuck with it, although it was very hard. There were so many mornings, I would be sitting in my rocking chair (our only real piece of furniture in Maryland) with a heating pad behind my back because my back contractions were so hard, and Camilla would have to stand next to my chair to do her reading lesson. And there she would stand, diligently, frustratingly, tiredly sounding out letters, then words, then sentances. Now she can pick up a beginning reader and read almost every word. I couldn't read when I left kindergarten, didn't ruin her there.

She knows her states from Arizona to Colorado, and then all the way across the I-70 to the Altantic Ocean and back to Kansas and on up to Nebraska. We have a map on our kitchen wall and she muses over it, reliving all the places she lived last year, and visited. Although I wish my first year of homeschooling did not have to involve four moves, because I think much of my failure stemmed from that; nevertheless, there were many teaching moments. Our kindergarten field trip wasn't just the zoo, it was a ferry ride to New Jersey, driving around the national mall, Gettysburg, Virginia, and really learning how many days away Kansas is from all our loved ones.

The last lesson in her math book was an assesment. I thought she would fail, because we had done lesson after lesson over these concepts, and she just couldn't get them. She passed with 100%, I was shocked, and pleased.

So, did she learn stuff, yes, I think we can say she did, unfortunately I think I learned more than she did.

Organization. . . whew. . .is key. Yes I knew that nine months ago, but not to this degree. I didn't really know how to be organized, or what would work with me. Now I know, and I will be ready.

Curriculum: I guess I really did need that expensive text book after all. I bought it finally, thumbed through it, and wondered how on earth I had every missed realizing it was there. (The text book is the Core Knowledge teacher's guide). As a result did I miss a lot of stuff I should have covered, oh yes! We get to play make-up next year, which is fine. I have the resources I need, so that shouldn't be a problem. Still it would be nice going into next year knowing I had covered everything.

And so you see, I guess I didn't ruin her after all. I suppose we are all better for this year. I look forward to next year, and strangely I'm more excited to do this next year, than I was to start this year. I love being her teacher. I love being able to give her a great big hug when she does something well, or pull her to me and kiss her forehead when she is discouraged. I love that I was there to hear her read her first words, and that everyone in our house now, Hyrum and Mary Emma as well, are a part of this education. I wish Camilla didn't have to be the first, the guinea pig, the one who gets the bum end, but Heavenly Father knew someone had to be first, and I know he chose her for his own reasons. She's a trooper, and I love her.

But after all is said and done, this is my biggest consolation, she could not have started school this year anyway, because of her birthday. So, according to the state of Kansas this next year is her first year of school :).

This was taken her last day of school, Friday June 5, 2009
(there's supposed to be a tiger in the background).