Friday, April 29, 2011

Library Finds

I was at the library today and found quite a variety of fun things to share with Jonas and Ronan. We now have several books of exercises in phonics and kindergarten activity suggestions. While I figure that I can be creative and make most of these activity sheets myself, it seems like an opportunity to try out and find a system that the boys like best here.

I have visions of myself being creative enough to draw up my own lesson plan based in play for Jonas and Ronan's next year. Time to get my act together and begin if that's really what I intend to do. This is Spring! Let's begin there. Spiders are climbing out of everything outside (and sometimes in). They can be counted, examined for coloring and shape, the boys can learn spider safety and how to crawl like a spider, we can find spider stories and sing spider songs!

Weekly themes I think. And an end of the week project to put into our book of learning.

Onward and upward! :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Big Education Dilemma

Welcome now to the world of a mother in search of a positive start to education for her sons. It is a scary world filled with doubt and uncertainty. The options are many, but none seem to be exactly right. What kind of schooling will best start off my loving, high-strung, gregarious, I'd-love-to-have-his-memory-skills, and dislikes-to-be-put-on-the-spot child Jonas. He has so much fun with all of his friends in pre-Kindergarten, and enjoys his Tae Kwon Do master and fellow students but where or how should he start his Kindergarten experience.

I've been drawn over and over again to the idea of homeschooling. It's rather a scary thought for me knowing how difficult I find it to commit to long term projects. But this has got to be different. This is my sons' education. Some friends and I once had a brilliant idea of doing a cooperative homeschool together. If we work together and share our strengths with the kids then we can all have a break, and we can all be giving our best. We will know that each child gets individual attention (something that I'm afraid is becoming more and more difficult for our hard working public teachers).

If Jonas can look forward to a few classmates coming over to learn with him in our home, or going to theirs to learn, then I think we can do this! Now to find the mothers/fathers of similar mind who would like to try this with me here. I believe my strengths to be language, music, dance and art. All of these are things I could bring to share with the kids. Now to find someone who wants to take on math and science, and even P.E. (Daddy for P.E.??) although even there I believe I am capable. I once wanted to study science. Maybe I'll find my way back into that here.

A few days ago Jonas and I visited our district's public school. I don't know how to explain my qualms except to say that there have once more been budget cuts. This will mean bigger class sizes and too little focus on the individual student. The school seems well situated, everyone was nice and welcoming to both of us, but I am nervous. I think the best thing for Jonas is to find a group of friends who can learn with him in our playroom.

As you can see even from re-reading my thoughts here they are leaning in one particular direction. Perhaps it's time to listen to my own logic and begin the search for a few people to share this idea and project with. Any thoughts folks?

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Day of Sniffles

We are building a craft (Jonas' word for fort) here in the playroom today. Sadly everyone has a case of the sniffles and therefore the gym is out. So instead we are creating some indoor fun on this rainy Everett day and hoping for a bit of sun this afternoon. Block towers are created and destroyed as I sit and think of what to write. It was an interesting thought to imagine I could sit here and type while the boys play but really I should know better. Have I ever been able to focus on something else when my show-stopping children are around. They definitely know how to take center stage.

So I will give up here...hopefully more later! How did my blog end up turning into a facebook status instead of a worthwhile post today? Hmmm...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Getting Fit

The new year is here and the holidays have come and gone. I've shared many wonderful moments this year with family and friends. However, I've also shared lots of wonderful food. I discovered upon my return from vacation and much to my disappointment that I had gained weight yet again! It seems that all my energy spent on exercise wasn't enough to help me. Therefore I must finally come to terms with what I've known all along but tried to ignore: my diet is the key to my success!

So here we go. Pocho and I are embarking on the journey together. I'm not one to count calories, but I can ration and I can abstain if need be. I will not remove ice cream from my diet, it will just have to be rationed. We will also need to spend our time, thoughts and money coming up with meals at home that work for us instead of deciding last minute to eat out.

I am not calling this a new year's resolution. I am only saying that it is time I listened to my body and not my mind when it comes to food. The latest personal trainer that I met with at the gym told me he could get me to my goal in 6 weeks! SIX weeks! It's amazing what good exercise (my body is in pain right now from how much good exercise that trainer showed me) and a healthy diet can do for your body. Already today I feel like I'm on the right track. Let's see how far I can push it.

Want to try it with me?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Running the Track

A few days ago I decided to revel in the springy, fun, running track that my new gym boasts. I don't know what it is about indoor tracks but I feel like I can keep going forever. I also don't feel as bored as I do on a treadmill. I know, a cross-country runner should be out running through the pines on nice beautiful Washington days. But truthfully there are many days when I don't feel up to running in cold rain. There's also the added bonus that my boys can play in the nursery while I run the indoor track at Emerald City Athletic Club.

So, during one of my first true distance runs on this bouncy track I discovered I was flying by everyone there. It's rather unnerving to consider yourself a mediocre runner but then begin to lap everyone on the gym track. Honestly most of these people probably just took up running and will soon surpass me, but for now I was the queen of the track, and having fun.

After about 20 minutes of flying, an older runner joined us. He kept up a pretty good pace and I felt that even though I might be able to pass him it wasn't necessary. So I did what many runners find absolutely annoying. I shadowed him. I kept back a ways, but I followed his pace and relaxed into following instead of having to set my own speed.

My time was nearing an end and I still felt great! So it was time to do some sprints. I set the number ahead of time in my head so I couldn't chicken out and do less. Five sprints, I told myself, half the track each. So as I neared one of the long sides of the track I gave a warning to my pace-setter and passed him sprinting as fast as I could for half the track. Now I really felt like I was flying! It was almost too easy! I slowed. Half the track at normal speed and then flying again!

Five times I flew, five times I slowed. Then I walked the track to cool down. My energy hadn't been sapped for the day, rather it had grown. I'm a fan!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Frank Delaney

There are few books that truly force me to read them slowly, and yet keep my attention, as Frank Delaney's novels do. It took me nearly a whole month to read Ireland, and yet I found my youngest son's name in that book; Ronan, the storyteller, my little seal.

Delaney has a way of showing you different scenes from Ireland's past that allow you to know the place more and better appreciate its people. Being of partly Irish descent, I am fascinated by the people, music, culture and even food of the country. I play the Irish fiddle, and have always wanted to learn Gaelic; someday, perhaps, I will.

I am currently reading my second of Frank Delaney's books, entitled Shannon. At each sitting I usually read no more than a few pages. I'm not exactly sure why this is. Perhaps it is just that he gives me a lot to think about, or that it takes time to digest his work; but whatever it is, and no matter how slowly I read this book, I am caught.

Thank you for slowing me down Mr. Delaney. I am following the Shannon river with Robert now, and I hope he finds his soul, and spiritual footing again. His journey is amazing to witness.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Baking Mode

I love to bake. It's fun to put something scrumptious together with your own hands, place it in the oven and have it come out smelling up the entire house with it's delicious scent. What I don't love doing is cleaning up after these episodes. So I generally don't bake. Lately, however, I've been starting again. I've experimented with cobbler, crumbles, home made applesauce, and bread.

Yesterday was bread day. I had been meaning to get out and buy some more bread for our family but then I realized I have all the ingredients and the necessary time to put them together. So, with my littlest son down to nap time and the elder downstairs playing construction worker, I started making Oatmeal bread. Unfortunately, several times in my recipe I was told to set what I had done aside in a warm area to rise/foam/... Well, in my house there are no warm areas right now. We are using lots of sweaters.

So my ingenious idea was to turn the oven on to warm. But the oven did more than warm my rising almost cooked it! So my bread rose very slowly. After the first rising, I only had time for one more if I even wanted it in the oven before I left to teach my dance class. So I skipped the second rising and put my dough right in the pans to rise. About a half hour later they were still slightly deformed but I popped them in the oven anyway. Then I was off to my dance class and when I returned they were neatly on the cooling rack and out of their pans. Thank you love (husband Pocho helped)!

I would like to make this a regular event! I used to bake a lot as a kid/younger woman. I think it's time to get back to that. Smells like spinach pie! Or maybe it's time to bust out the famous butterscotch cookie recipe from who ma? Aunt Betty?

Oh, and side note before I leave this post...the place I was accustomed to buying my bread is no longer. I drove by today and all the bread racks were out on the sidewalk, the sign was down, and I don't know what they're doing with the place. We'll see!