Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Beautiful Books

Last year the boys read Treasure Island, or listened to it.. I'd acquired a beautiful hardbound copy of the story with illustrations by Robert Ingpen. In a rush I'd read his name really fast & mistaken it for Mick Inkpen, you know the illustrated of Kipper The Dog, or rather some distant relative.. Imagine my surprised to open the book upon it's arrival & see the amazing pictures awaiting us. The book was a huge hit on many levels because, let's face it, what boy isn't into pirates & treasure, mystery & adventure? The boys could not get enough of the book, & they were only spurred on when a beloved cousin said, "Oh what, you're reading Treasure Island? I love that book!"

It inspired a lot of chatter about older classic kids books we may or may not have read in a while. A great many we read when the children were younger or put off waiting until Morgan was older & we thought he'd be capable of reading them on his own. Perhaps that day will come, but his vision limitations have put a lot of road blocks up for him.

He recently came out & asked if I'd have time to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or maybe The Wizard Of Oz with him. His reasoning was pretty simple, "Dad keeps saying what great books they are, but I don't remember them!" It may sound odd, but I wanted to buy beautiful copies of these books, & we instantly looked to see if Mr Ingpen had done any of the books we were after. Imagine our delight to discover he had? Then came the long debate over which one to purchase first, & when no firm conclusion could be made we decided that over time we'd acquire them all.

Then, while in the bookshop recently we stumbled upon Alice's Adventures In Wonderland with illustrations by Ingpen. We came home & devoured the book, placing an order right away for a The Wind In The Willows & The Wizard Of Oz.

The really hard part about purchasing these books was that it was very very difficult to get a sample of the beautiful illustrations inside. In fact, while in the bookshop they'd had 2 other books illustrated by Ingpen on hand: The Wind In The Willows which was beautifully done & The Secret Garden. Mary's eyes in The Secret Garden were a little terrifying & while it disappointed me, I was delighted to see it in person before purchasing it.

Spotting Alice's story in the bookshop brought back the boys desire to read through the older books, you know, ".. the ones you & Dad keep talking about." Which is really why they picked Alice's story, because Mr S had spoken so fondly of it.

The illustrations, as expected, were absolutely captivating too, all though the boys were a little mystified on the story aspect. Not that I blame them really, Alice's story was never one I could fully get into. There were some chuckles over the humour & the mentions of things we'd recently studied, & Morgan sat bolt upright when I read out one of the poems in the book. "Didn't you read that from the poetry book last week?" I had to point it out the poetry book actually obtained it from Alice's story.

Three-quarters of the way through the book they were getting concerned that it wasn't really going to be that great, but Mr S encouraged them to follow it through. "It'll make sense in the end, I promise!" So onward we went, finishing it off last week. We read the extras included in our copy about Mr Lewis' journey to publishing the book as well as Mr Ingpen's inspiration behind the illustrations. When I closed the book for the final time the boys looked at each other & said in unison, "We need to talk to Dad. That was total nonsense!" 

Oh yes, yes it was. They aren't so sure about reading of Alice's other adventures.. they've nixed the idea of watching the movie & wasting time complaining it's nothing like the book, "Especially if it's got all the horrible singing in it.." -- which I think is only in the older Disney Cartoon, but never mind that now. Dorothy's adventure is on the table now & we're so caught up in it we haven't time to worry about Alice anymore.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Happy 12th Birthday

Twelve, one whole box of candles. This year he turned 12. Where does the time go? I can still remember the day I was at church & a young man from our Sunday School class read my shirt “Mother 2-Bee” & said, “You’re pregnant, I didn’t realise!” His poor wife crawled under the table as we chuckled at the funny statement. Or when the nurse on duty didn’t believe I was really in labour because I couldn’t stop laughing, the look on her face when she hooked me up to the monitor & saw how close the contractions were only sent me into another wave of giddy insanity.

We tell our children stories, all the time, mostly about themselves. We were recently sharing the embarrassing story of how, at the age of 2, Jayden bellowed through every isle of Walmart that he was Wendy, not Jayden. His brother only nodded & said, “Yes, & I’m Bob the Builder, Wendy is my helper.” 

Or the day he finally put his foot down & insisted his big brother stop calling him Jay-Jay. It went over like a lead balloon as he stamped his little four-year old foot down on the floor & said, “I am not Jay-Jay anymore! I am just Jay.” Thankfully I haven’t been told off, yet, for still calling him Jaydie.

Long gone are the days of Thomas the Train & Bob the Builder, replaced now with hourly weather checks & constant facts about one thing or another. He finds it hard to believe he’d cry his eyes out until I sang Baby Of Mine to him each night; replaced now with the loudest versions of Jesus Freak or Flood to which I express my constant need for ear plugs.

A whole new year; new likes, & dislikes. The same boy, but older. One final year as a tween, the word that makes him roar with laughter until his face is red & he’s gasping for air. “That’s not a real word Mom, I know you made it up.” No amount of insistence will convince him I didn’t, & as we share in his excitement of the day, I can’t help but wonder what stories this year of growing will produce. What new excitements & loves will he pick up, & what old thing will he cast off in place of the new?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

What's The Rush?

I read an article a few months back in the Readers Digest about the rushing in today’s society. For the author, it was all about how she constantly hurried her child through every aspect of life. The author, herself, was at the point of frustration & shouting each day over simple things like putting on shoes & getting ready for bed, where as the child was in tears each day over her inability to keep up with the mad craze of rushing. I don’t entirely remember what the breaking point was for the family, but eventually the author realised that if she continued to push & rush through life she was going to miss out on a lot, especially the relationship she could have with her daughter.

The article really gave me pause to stop & reflect on my own life & where I may be rushing things that should be taken more slowly. There’s obviously a balance of when we need the push to move forward & when we need to slow down & wait. Everyone is different & that time will, of course, be different for each family.

This article has come to mind a lot lately as I’ve watched young Mums reaching out for support in their homeschool journeys, each one excited & delighted at the prospects ahead. We’ve all been there before, the excitement of finally beginning, the delight in selecting the books & curriculum that will best suit your family, & the sheer joy when they arrive.

When they reach our front door we can’t wait to open up the box & are often eager to start right away, regardless of how our children feel. And that’s when the rushing begins. We rush to start school, we rush to finish the high expectations we put on our children, & then we rush to move them into another subject.

I’ve heard some true & deep heart felt cries of parents concerned of failing their children lately. Parents distraught because their young Kindy students can’t read, or refuse to sit still for hours upon hours each day for schooling. The three year old who isn’t interested in the preschool curriculum Mamma spent hundreds of dollars on. The four year old who seemed so eager to learn but cries when it’s “school time” each morning. The six year old who is angry because he really just wants to continue playing with the train tracks he just built. Rush. Rush. Rush.

I’m not an expert. I don’t have a fancy degree in child anything hanging on my wall. I don’t have a degree in education hidden in a back cupboard somewhere, but I can offer you all some heart felt advice from raising 2 children for the past 15 years & educating them for the past 10? Slow down. Really. Take a deep breath & simply slow down. After all, what’s the rush?

Does it matter if your 5 year old can’t read? Not really. If he’s hitting 9 or 10 & still struggling, yeah I’d be seeking outside help. Ask me how I know.  Forcing your child to sit still & string letters together into words & words into sentences isn’t going to make them the sharpest tack in the box, it’s going to burn them out. 

If your 6 year old doesn’t want to sit down for hour upon hour each day & calculate math sums, does it really matter? Not really. Wait! I can hear you now, “Of course it matters! At 6 I have to legally have my child enrolled in school & reach 180 days of education!” or whatever legal constrains you are obligated to uphold. Me too, I’m there with you. I’ve been there before you. It’s okay.

I bet your little one would love to go outside & collect rocks or flowers. Did you know rocks, flowers, & toys can be grouped together in 2’s or 5’s or even 10’s & it’s a lot more fun then sitting at a table with a math book. You can play lots of fun games with skip counting too. 

Traveling a long distance? Unplug the backseat DVD players & slip in an audio book instead. Even little ones can get greatly caught up in the beauty of  Paddington Bear, Olga da Polga,  or The Tale Of Despereaux. The downside is getting your children out at the destination can be harder, & when you get back home chances are they’ll want to act out the story.

Wait, I can still hear you. You’re worrying about your child being behind his peers. You’re stressing about the lack of structured lessons. And again, I ask you, what’s the rush? Is this a race to see who’s child gets to the graduation ceremony first? 

I’m not suggesting you fail to urge a capable child to take on the responsibilities he’s able to. While we may not have had very formal structured lessons at a young age our children read or were read countless books. We were outside all the time, & if my children didn’t know what they were looking at they asked. We pulled out more books to “look it up”. We’d drive past fields of crops & a little voice from the backseat would say, “That’s pyrethrum you know, in a few weeks the field will be white like snow.”

By slowing down & not rushing, we can harbour a love for learning, & the knowledge that nothing is too great for them if they want to know badly enough. Am I sure? I’d like to think I am, but like any homeschooling Mamma I have my moments of doubt. Most recently I was lamenting the fact that my youngest might not know one skill or another, when I hear him from the backseat saying, “Those clouds are stratus clouds it’s probably going to rain tonight.”

Did I teach him that? No. His passion for weather has been growing more rapidly with each passing year & he’d checked a weather book out of the library & read it. Thus he could tell us all about the stratus clouds.. & cumulus clouds.

The thing is, when we slow down & stop rushing pell-mell down the educational road it’s amazing how much more we can learn because we aren’t fighting the uphill battle of students who are not ready for what’s ahead. Rushing into things isn’t worth the collision course ahead.

Many times in our years of homeschooling we’ve come to a pause, or even a dead stop, in order to allow a child to build confidence in skills that would then help propel them forward. There’s no shame in it, none. I’m not saying you’re not going to get pressure, but stop & evaluate where that pressure is coming from. 

Is it because you’re playing the comparison game? You’re not alone, we’ve all fallen prey at one time or another. The friendly neighbour who doesn’t homeschool? We’ve all got them. Family members? Been there done that. Take a deep breathe, evaluate your plan, pray about it & decide if you’re on the right path. 

There’s nothing wrong with moving at a calm & steady pace, after all it worked pretty well for the tortoise.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Art Club: Monet

About a year & a half or so ago we joined a local Art Club/Group. The group meets once a month on an afternoon, generally at a local park. One Mum puts the whole thing together, but all Mum's who bring children are asked to help out where/how they can. It's been a lot of fun, & my boys look forward to "Art Club Tuesday" around here with open arms.

In fact last month they were really bummed when it was postponed, then one debated not going to the make-up event because of the poor weather, but the other simply said, "You can't skip, we always do something really cool!" We went, & they both came home raving about it.

This year we've been looking at Impressionist's & trying our hands at various projects that can help mimic that type of art. We don't go deeply into depth at Art Club, just a basic chat about what the type of art is & what it refers to. We look at samples of the type of art, & especially the artist whom we'll be copying that particular month. Very simple & to the point. Seriously, the Mum who organises this does an amazing job!

This month we tried our hands at a Monet. We had a look at some of of his works, specifically the Lily Pond Garden painting. We looked at a copy of it & discussed all sorts of things about the painting. Then the Mum explained, in step by step instructions, what the kids were each meant to do. She equally shows them how to go about each step, which is also written down for the children to refer back to should they need to later.

While I don't have photos of the step by step process or a link to share I'll do my best to explain how we made our lovely pictures above. We used Water Colour Paper {just a simple pad purchased from our local K-Mart, nothing fancy}, Oil Pastels {non water soluble}, markers, spray bottle of water, & table salt.

First we were instructed to draw the bridge a bit higher then the middle of the paper. We did three curved lines & then the connector pieces to give it the effect of a hand rail. You'll notice in one of our photos the bridge is more prominent then the other. One child opted to go back over his bridge with the white oil pastel vs the other.

Next we used pink, red, & orange to draw water lilies. It was suggested we draw a U with some jagged bits on top, remembering to draw lilies in the foreground bigger then those in the background. Then you use a green oil crayon for the lily pads. Once you get that all done, you'll need your markers.

The idea is to use blue {we used 2 different shades} & a purple for the water. you don't have to colour every inch of the water area in, but you will want to cover more then you leave white. We had some who coloured it in fully, some who didn't, & some that hit the middle point. Each end result was beautiful, some just had more colour then others. The children were all urged to find a point under the bridge where the water would stop & not colour above that with the water colours aside from a few squares in the bridge "railing". I think each child selected a different start & stop point!

Next up you'll use Green {2 shades again} & yellow for the are above the bridge. Colouring it in the same fashion as you did the water. It was suggested to use differing strokes then we did for the water. So with the water we made vertical lines when we coloured. For the trees we made circular motions, for the ferns we made vertical lines again. The sunny areas were done more in a circular motion again. Really, you can't mess the project up & you'll be tempted to try it again & again anyway.. Don't forget to colour in the remaining squares on your bridge.

As a note, the objective is to fill the white paper & while it shouldn't effect the oil pastels, we were advised to try not to colour over them with our markers.

Once you're satisfied with the marker job you'll want to use the spray bottle. We were outside so it was pretty easy to let the kids go at it to their hearts content, & you will need a fair amount of water on your paper. I'd suggest laying down a plastic table cloth if you're doing this inside, & then let them spray spray spray. The objective is to get the areas where you used the marker wet enough to help the marker bleed into each other. It may not look fantastic when you start, but trust me it's okay! Once you've saturated, sprinkle on some salt. The sale supplied was more of a rock salt & it worked perfectly fine. Each child was instructed to use roughly 3 teaspoons & to just sprinkle it liberally over their project. Then, just walk away. Find something fun to do or go make another art project.

We left ours in the sun for a while as the kids each worked on a new one, paused to have a good laugh at the Rainbow Lorikeets who dropped in to check out what they were doing, & eventually packed up all the supplies & helped cart them back to the car they came from.

The parents eventually moved the projects off the plastic bases {flexible plastic cutting boards} the children had started on & laid them in the grass to help them dry. Some were dry, some were still slightly damp but no longer bleeding all over. Ours were in the later category, but dried quickly once taken home & put under the heater.

Once they are fully dry, flick off the salt. I just held the papers over the sink & rubbed gently over all the rock salt. Considerable amounts will flake off, but you'll be left with enough behind that you're picture will sparkle. We then mounted them on blank paper, which required us to trim our original project just a smidge. That's it, when we were done we put them in our art notebooks for safe keeping!

The hardest part of this whole project is resisting the urge to make hundreds of these things! They were such a hit with the kids!

Friday, June 5, 2015

World Geography

Disclosure: Please note that while this post is full of links only the  book links that take you to Book Depository have affiliate links. As always, I share what works for my family & provide direct links feel free to use what works for you & ignore the rest. 

A few years ago we spent a year studying countries around the world. We had a wonderful year, & it’s still one of the many studies we’ve done that gets spoken of quite often. When we did the study we combined Winter Promise’s Children Around The World {CAW} theme with Sonlight’s Core F. Due to this, I often get asked quite a bit about how we meshed the two together to come up with a curriculum that fitted our needs. Keep in mind that what we did fitted, exactly, our needs. 

Why did we choose to combine two beautifully, well written, geographical curriculums? I chose to combine because one curriculum had a lot of lovely books we wanted to read, while the other curriculum used the hands on aspect & research portion that we preferred far more. Together they fitted our needs perfectly!

For starters, we used CAW as our spine.  I chose CAW because it covered more of the world then the 10/40 window that SL covers. While I love the idea behind the 10/40 window, I wanted to cover as much of the world as we could in the time we had as it had been 4 years since we had done a big “Around The World” study. Our youngest had no recollection of the previous study, & while our eldest remembered it he’d been much younger so it had been a much more basic study.

What Resources Did you use? 

From SL I used the majority of the literature which I’ll give further detail on later, & the lovely Timeline Stickers.

I did purchase the WP maps, but I’m going to be 100% honest here & say that they were too small for us. Our children were squabbling over who was going to do what on them when so I printed out gigantic free ones from here. A friend & her husband saw our maps pieced together on A4 paper & offered to print them on huge pieces of paper which was REALLY cool.  Unfortunately, if you don't purchase the maps you can't get the awesome figures that we used on our maps which is not in the picture above.

Putting it All Together:
Once I knew what I was using it was just a matter of getting it all lined up in the order I wanted. With WP being my spine that meant that I wanted to follow the scheduled order of countries in their lovely Guide. I opted not to use the Christmas Around The World portion as we live in the Southern Hemisphere & Christmas falls a the end of our school year not the middle. It was not an issue, in anyway, to simply move on. In fact WP offers bonus weeks in the back of your guide so you can spend longer on some countries with a little extra guidance if you want!

I took all my literature & lined it up on the table then sorted it out by country. Once I was done I had a lovely little spread sheet of what I wanted to read when! It was my reference sheet for the literature we used during the entire year. The only book I left off the chart {not sure why} was the lovely missionary story scheduled in by WP: George Muller. I think it may be our very favourites Missionary Story of all time, & is really well worth the read.

Here’s my PDF of the lineup of how I scheduled the books. While I did try to stick to my schedule if we fell behind or gained ground I didn’t fuss about it. It was not my objective to panic & rush. In fact, during the year that we did this amazing study we nursed the children’s Nana through a broken hip, made a few visits to our eldest's specialist {one of which was 6 hours round trip},  & bought a house. We ended up obtaining a lot of our books in audio format & packed the home up while we listened. It gave us much to discuss & chatter about while we were out hunting down more boxes or enjoying a breather at the park.

I did not schedule the spines, I simply used the WP Guide for that. In order to find a schedule for Material World, Hungry Planet, & Usborne World Religions you’d need to obtain the Older Study Guide. I own it, but honestly I didn’t end up using it. I found it pretty easy to open up 2 of those 3 books & find the country we were learning about & run with it. 

DK’s How People Live is no longer scheduled in any WP Guide simply because the book is out of print. It’s an absolute shame that the book is no longer being printed as it’s a beautiful book. It was a well fought over book that we generally had laying around & would pick up & read about people from the areas we were studying. Several cultures caused us to do more research & look more in depth because the way they lived was just so fascinating to us!

Hands On Aspects
Again, nearly all the hands on aspects is covered in the Guide as well. It tells you when to use up the Travel Diary pages, which are absolutely awesome! They also gave you ideas on when to start planning your cultural gathering.

Here’s the thing, I was up to my eyeballs in getting Nana to PT appointments, giving her daily injection, packing a house, & helping with the planning committee of a homeschool group. If anything hands on happened outside of the notebooking pages it was left totally up to my children.

At the start of the week I pulled out the planning page & asked them what they wanted to do. They took the activity book {Traditions Of Many Lands} & found the pages for the country. Sometimes they went all out, such as our English Tea when we studied the UK. On that occasion the eldest made fancy little invites, pulled out the tea set, had some YouTube videos ready to give us a “tour” of England. Mr S told “Old War Stories” while we sipped our OJ “tea” & had little chocolate tarts. Everyone put on fancy dress, & I shocked them all by wearing my Burt’s Bees lip tint. It was a lovely afternoon & we all enjoyed ourselves heaps!

A less formal occasion would be when we studied studied Peru. That evening the kids decided a simple meal & watching The Emperor’s New Groove would suffice. For China we ended up watching KungFu Panda & eating with chopsticks as the youngest was sick. For Japan we had a lovely surprised when we showed up at the library & our town’s sister city {located in Japan} had sent things over & we had the most beautiful display to ooh & ah over. The librarians were delighted that the boys spent so much time inspecting everything on display.

Other times we had grand plans, but fell short. We’d intended a great & lovely Fiesta for Mexico, but it didn’t happen. There was some sadness about the lack of a piƱata {grand plans}, but we did enjoy a lovely Mexican dinner.  We learned to go with the flow & simply enjoy what we COULD do & make the most of that.

I get asked a lot about the cost of combining both of these ideas together as each programme is suppose to be so full on it’s own, & each comes with it’s own price tag. I think it’s really going to depend on which one you want to use as the spine. That’s the Guide I’d purchase & not bother with the other. I purchased the WP Guide because that was the way I wanted to go. Now, I did have a Core F guide, but truthfully I didn’t use it. 


I didn’t use everything listed in my “extras” section of my PDF chart, for instance I didn't end up using all the Expedition items from UnitStudies.com as I'd intended. We had a lot going on that year, & we found that what we did do made our studies rich & full.

For the weeks marked "Christmas Around The World" we simply moved forward. That may sound confusing & seem like we had a shorter year, but we didn't as we spent a good 3 weeks in China, we did our "optional" week of Korea {I have a child fascinated by this country} when we were in Asia, & we spent extra time in both Japan & Russia.

Finally, I opted to use Red Sand, Blue Sky because it was included with the SL literature, but personally we found it a poor representation of Australia. I've equally been asked about this book many times over & what I would replace it with. I find that a very difficult question to answer as there are so many wonderful books written by Australians about Australia. We'd never read RSBS before & gave it a go. It's not a horrible book by any means, but it's most certainly not the best representation either.

Yes, you can purchase single CAW units at Spirited Autumn Hope. They include, to my knowledge, everything you'd need in order to complete the unit. It's a great way to try it out, or you can find the entire UK unit or free over on the Winter Promise Blog.

Yes, I purchase my items from WP in digital format to reduce the need for shipping fees. I have no issues printing them {two sided unless otherwise noted} at home & binding it all up myself. However, if you live in the USA WP has an arrangement with Staples for their customers, it allows you a discounted print price within the Staples shop. If you run into issues with that feel free to contact WP for help.

While it is not noted, we did use the book 100 GateWay Cities with our studies. We simply looked up the country we were studying, read about the needs of the country & prayed in accordance. We also used the various 30 days of prayer calendar sheets from WP.

When we did our weekly mapping with our NBing pages, we found that there was a LOT to write on our maps. All of it was so fun to find & important to the cultures we were studying, so we came up with a simpler idea for marking our maps that kept them neat, clean, & helped us quickly identify locations. You can find that information here.

You can read a Full Review of our year with CAW over on The Curriculum Choice Blog, or check out what we did each week with our year of World Geography by checking out our 2013 Weekly Wrap Up posts. You can find the End Of Year Certificates I made up to coordinate with this year here if you are interested. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Weather Science

Earlier this year we had grand plans for doing Earth Science with at least one of the boys. I got half my plans together & had a minor freak out moment & pulled something else off the shelf to use instead. However, the weather here has been doing it's normal autumn/winter fight which makes for some insanely crazy weather patterns. It's had our in home Meteorologists going a little nuts as they watch the weather machines & check weather updates on the hour.

I figured what better time then now to pull those weather books back off the shelf & dig in! As I sat down Sunday evening to check our school plans & look over what we had going on for the week ahead I was caught with the weather books in my hands. All he said was, "Yes. I know exactly what your'e going to ask & my answer is 100% for sure yes!"

We have this running joke in our home that Mom's a mind reader because when the guys putter around trying to ask someone something instead of spitting it out I simply say, "What he's trying to say is.." which often gets the response of, "Yeah, what she said." Needless to say Jayde took pure delight in beating me to the question & reading my mind.

I purchased both of these weather books because we've used others in their series & I really like the style & way they are written. Explore Weather & Climate is by the same people who wrote a few of our "Ancient" craft books as well as the book we used when studying Simple Machines. In fact, I purchased a few others in this series for our Earth Science study too.

The Kids Book Of Weather Forecasting is from another series of favourites as well, all of which seem to be getting a nifty little facelift. I'm finding that this particular book, while scientific & written to the child, is more about getting them thinking about weather & weather related ideas. Whereas the Explore Weather & Climate is more science & experiment based. Together they make a fantastic combination for we wanted.

I'd like to order a few Weather Science kits, several of which I have flagged, but I'm torn because I'd also considered purchasing them as birthday presents for the same child. We shall see what unfolds there. In the mean time I have the Scholastic Easy Make & Learn Weather Projects. I'm pretty sure we snagged that one back during one of their $1 sales & the contents will make lovely notebooking pieces for him.

In the mean time I'm tending to just pull plans together a week at a time reading a few pages from one book or another as we go along. I'd like to plan it all out a bit farther in advanced, but really it comes together simply enough that if I only do it week by week I don't think I'll panic too much.

Here's our plans for the first 3 weeks if you're interested:

Click on the image for a pdf version.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Winter Ramblings..

June is officially here, which puts us halfway through 2015. Where on earth has the time gone? It also marks the first day of winter in our neck of the woods. We've been soaking up every last minute of autumn that we could, & has it ever been glorious. We've seen the sun set over the ocean so many times over the past few weeks as we enjoy our late evening walks. We could go earlier, but let's be honest it's much more fun when you have the walk track to yourself, or the beach, or both.

There is nothing quite like the solidarity of the ocean, which is neither small or quiet but fills us with a sense of peace. Many grumpy days over the past month have been made right with a big hug, a quick prayer, & a walk along the shore line of this beach. We come back restored & full of laughter.

Jayde feels so at home he's worn his bathrobe to the beach so often I've threaten to throw it out. Not that I really would, he'd probably cry. I also threatened to buy him a new Hawthorne jumper for his birthday which is now 11 days away. I can't believe he's going to be 12. It might explain why he gets exasperated with me when I still treat him like he's 4. This growing up thing, it's harder on the parents then it is on the kids.

I walked in the kitchen this weekend & noticed that an assigned job to my 14 year old had been done.. exceptionally well. I stood there for a moment & then said, "That's odd." Mr S pulled himself away from the footy scores to ask what I was talking about, & I said, "I just hadn't expected the job to be done quite so well." Which is silly, of course, because if it hadn't been done that well I would have had the offending child return to the scene & fix the problem. Mr S shrugs & says, "Well he isn't 8 anymore you know.."

Yes, I did know, but why is it so easy to forget? I mean he wears bigger shoes then I do! He can swap clothes with his father & I can't keep underpants & socks straight between the two of them anymore either. Not that I'm suppose to say that kind thing, but as long as I have I'll add that I actually went out & purchased character underpants for one of them. Ran into a homeschooling friend who happened to be out purchasing underpants for her teen too. We laughed, we hugged. My family pretended not to notice, her's was absent from the scene.

It's funny really that we watch all those years race by us & we don't notice them. Not once. We're too busy cleaning up the messes, fixing the hurts, sorting out the fights, & living in the moments. Then we suddenly arrive at that point where we catch up with our children, & we're wondering where that time has gone.

I have 3 months of winter to try & figure that out, you know... between celebrating a birthday & all that life entails these days. Really though, I haven't got time to figure it out, I'm too busy trying to keep up with them while I still have them at home, & with each passing year I'm reminding of just how little of that time is left.