Friday, September 25, 2009

Lillie, A Flower Girl??

Yes, this was the winner of the "reader's choice" poll. By a slim margin though - told you your vote would count! Second runner up was to post on all topics provided... which... we'll see...

So I posed this post's title as a question because really the success of this endeavor is highly questionable. Lillie is 18 mos. old and she will be the flower girl in the wedding of Steven's cousin, Melissa, a week from tomorrow.

Can she walk? Of course. Is she cute? Oh, unbelievably so. Will she smile for pictures? More than likely yes. Will she walk down the aisle carrying a sweet little basket while sprinkling the runway with petals? Uh, my vote is no.

Luckily Melissa is a sweetheart and has already assured me that she has no grand expectations for Lillie at this event. She proclaimed that she could "stand there and throw a huge fit and I won't care." (I'm writing down this quote so that I may remind Melissa of her own words after all is said and done.)

Anyway, I kept telling myself that I need to take Lillie into our own church sanctuary to practice and yah, it's one week out and I still haven't done it. The only thing I have done is secure the outfit.

(The white band is some sort of contraption for her to wear in her hair... I don't do girl hair and Lillie doesn't do headbands! pulls them right out... not a good combination.)

I go back and forth on predictions as to what will happen.... sometimes I see her schmooze a crowd and completely flirt with all who will watch her and think that she will eat. this. up. And then I will see her become quite anxious when a total stranger looks at her and think that walking down a long aisle with hundreds of near total strangers looking at her will definitely not work.

Anyway, there is a little boy that will be the ring bearer - Lillie doesn't know him but the little bit of time they have to visit before the big event may be the ticket to success (depending on how gutsy the little guy is though...)

I'll keep you posted as to the outcome. Meanwhile feel free to give me any advice you may be able to offer. Isaiah was a ring bearer once and he sprinted down the aisle holding onto his father's suit coat as an anxious mess! (so obviously I wasn't too helpful in that situation!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reader's Choice

Since I always seem to sit down here to type out a post and have no idea what to write or often feel like what I do write is not that interesting I will let you the viewer have a chance to choose the next topic.

Now I realize that I do not have that many viewers... so vote early and vote often 'cause it really could all hinge upon your vote!

1. Lillie is going to be a flower girl... very soon... at the age of 18 mos.
2. Avery is being very big and very sweet... potty training still ongoing.
3. Huston has lost his mind.
4. Isaiah is almost 8!
5. I am writing curriculum.
6. The house is under contract.
7. I'm a big mean mom that destroys the fun had by all of my children.

So there you go - 7 choices! I mean you don't get that many good choices with a presidential campaign!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


So I realize that my readership may not be individuals interested in how we do the ins and outs of homeschooling. But you'll have to bear with me because the major purpose of my blog is to keep track of the different seasons this family goes through. And while I might set up this routine with schooling now, 10 years from now - if I am still crazy enough to think I can pull this off - I may have our days set up totally different... in fact I'm sure they will be.

I'm not thinking that you all are going to receive so much great information from me that you're gonna run right out and emulate my style... please don't... really. The beauty of homeschooling is finding what works for you and your family and doing it to the best of your ability. No molds here, that's what makes it wonderful.

So with the completion of the school room, I have a much better idea on how to structure our day. I start our school day the night before. I've never been one to plot out lesson plans months in advance. At this point of our lives my style probably is a little closer to an "unschooling" model... but with structure. I want the boys' interests to be the ultimate guide, but I'm sorry if they don't feel like learning their addition facts, tough cookies... we're doing it anyway.

So the night before I sit down and look over what we've been hitting the past few days. Are we neglecting an area? Is there something that lends itself to be built upon? Are we needing to step back from a concept and try again at a different angle and at a later date? All of these things factor into what I plan to do with the guys the next morning. I scratch down some ideas on an index card and set out some needed supplies and then I go to bed.

The following morning everyone gets up and gets breakfast. At times I have some early risers, I have one late sleeper, and one or two that are a little unpredictable. I have a few that are raring to go in the morning and I have one child, (and one mommy!), that takes a good half hour to break out of their sleep-induced grumpiness. So the routine right now is that Isaiah and Avery usually head outside first thing in the morning. Lillie gets into anything and everything while Huston usually stays in bed until at least 8:00 most mornings and I then piddle at the computer until he wakes up. We then get breakfast and by the time 9:00 comes around we're ready to hit the books.

I keep the index card as my tentative rough draft for how the morning will turn out and I begin to tackle that list while taking into consideration the mood and brainpower of the boys. We're not going to do something major if they can't focus... I've been there too many times and it always ends in someone crying (and sometimes it's me!).

We almost always end by lunch time and that's with a few 15-20 minute breaks sprinkled in there. If the boys are really antsy I will sometimes try to hit something again after lunch, and they are usually receptive, but I haven't had to do that very often.

I reward the boys for hard work daily by letting them have free play after a really concentrated effort, weekly by a trip to one of the grandparents houses, and then I always try to make the end of the week a really fun school day of science experiments or an educational video or something rather low maintenance.

Now that being said this week was totally blown out of the water and hasn't looked like this at all. But we will get back on track again - that's the beauty of homeschooling.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lots O' Critters

The boys have been really busy finding a whole bunch of living things hanging around on our property. Most of them have been found with great pleasure. A few have been found with fear and trepidation.

Like the other day when Isaiah came running to me absolutely panic stricken and scared out of his wits. I was at the front of the house with Lillie and Avery and he is flying toward me as fast as his rubber boots could carry him with Huston following behind. Huston looked more confused than scared but Isaiah was terrified and yelling, "Help me, help me..." along with other things that I can't remember and some of which I just plain couldn't comprehend. I finally got him calmed down enough so that he could spit out in between panting and heaving that he saw a "rattlesnake."

I was skeptical, but concerned about what he did see. So I picked up my 18-mo. old and took the hand of my 3 year old and we started walking in the direction of the allegedly venomous creature. (I know, smart move mom). Well to put you at ease, we saw it, it wasn't a rattlesnake it was an aggitated Hognose snake that was hissing loudly and telling us to back off. We oohed and aaahed and then we left it to do whatever snakes do and went into the house to learn more about Missouri reptiles on line and to call our friend the conservationist to ask him some questions.

Now, Isaiah and Huston are all about finding wildlife and I became their personal photographer over the last few days to take pictures of whatever they find. Isaiah will be logging this finds into his nature journal for school and I am smiling at how very easy these science/nature lessons are coming off.

So here are some pictures for you to enjoy (or not, depending on whether you are critter person or not!)

The hornets nest that has been build on our house (we haven't done anything with it because we have never even been dive-bombed by one hornet, so don't worry, but we will dismantle it eventually)...

a big fat toad frog that had made himself right at home in one of Huston's boots...

a hognose snake (this wasn't the one that gave my boy a heart attack, this is a different one, comforting that there is more than one huh)...

another snake (we are waiting on our friend to classify this one)...

and another snake (again waiting for classification, and he was a tiny, tiny baby)...

here are some fun acorns...

and a little moth/butterfly thingy...

a cute little snail...

and finally some "exciting" mushrooms...

Backyards are sure full of interesting things.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

School Days

Once a week, seems like that's about all I can handle anymore with this blog thing. Oh well, at least I get something down every once in awhile.

The past week marked the first day of Avery's official "school" experience. He went to his first morning of preschool (it's technically a mom's morning out program) on Tuesday. He LOVED it. Can I even begin to articulate how very excited this child was to be going to school?? He has matured by leaps and bounds in one short week.

That's why I really like letting my kids have a little taste of independence at a morning of preschool. It gets them in a fun environment, to do things that I wouldn't take the time to do (you know those things that require additional clean-up :0) and it gets them involved with kids their own age. Isaiah and Huston both went through this same class and they have all had the same teacher - so Miss Dina is about to experience the 3rd Spellman boy and she is definitely in for a treat.

Miss Dina goes to our church and we have actually been good friends for many years. I babysat her daughter when she was Avery's age (and even younger), now that daughter is a senior in high school. Who knew that Dina would be "watching" my kids someday - paybacks are tough.

Here are some pictures though -

On the way to school with his new lunchbox (which he is in love with... and don't worry we were stopped at a light, I wasn't taking pictures while driving - I'm not near that coordinated!)

Look how excited he was to head into class

And here he is after his first day - with his papers (he looks so big *sigh*)

So I know this will be a success and I know that Dina is going to have tons of stories to share about this one. After his first day Avery came home saying that he was "a widdle angel" - not sure where that came from, but I'm sure Dina will tell me.

As for the older boys school is going well for them too. I have finally been able to organize the school room thanks to some fun furniture finds at the salvation army. I got 3 good pieces of furniture for under $150! With a little touching up and adding to (not much though really) I was able to turn my treasures into usable pieces. Here's the room.

Two of the finds - I glazed the entertainment cabinet - stuck some fabric on the back - slid in some new shelving and it's perfect. The planter I left as is for now. It's a bit rusty but it is perfect as a little table to hold our books and papers.

Lillie likes the cabinets - they're great for sitting in. Obviously I filled them with things that her and Avery could get into - otherwise I would be asking for trouble every day of my life.

This is the other piece of furniture I found (the shelving unit/entertainment cabinet in the corner). It's much more bare basic, it doesn't have much character to it, but it serves it's purpose perfectly - I just punched out the cardboard backing.

The table will need to be replaced eventually - we already are fighting for elbow room.

This is an old picture frame that I found at the thrift store too. I loved it so I put some cork in it and made it into a bulletin board. I'm not satisfied with the fabric I put on it, but it was on sale and I wasn't ready to pay tons of money for a yard and a half of fabric! Give me a break - some of the prices were outrageous! (No wonder people just go buy clothes these days, who could afford to make them??)

I left the train table in here - with the hope that the little ones would satisfy themselves by quietly playing trains while the older ones worked... yeah, I know, wishful thinking - seems to work in Barnes and Noble...

So I am really pleased and we are really blessed to have a room that we can devote to our school stuff. It already has made life so much easier. I truthfully can't imagine homeschooling without it - I know it could be done, but I don't think I would have the level of tolerance needed to do it.

And this school year so far has gone really smoothly. I plan what we are to do the night before and get everything we need laid out in the room and then at 9:00 in the morning we get to work. I might post a little more about that later... too much to put down here on an already lengthy and overall blah post. I'll have to bore you with that information another day...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

And All Before 8:00am...

Lillie has spilled milk, water, and a box of blueberries (left conveniently within reach by her oldest brother). She has climbed up at least 3 chairs, falling off of one of them.

Huston has.... well, hey the only thing he has done is argue with his younger brother. Kudos to Huston!

Avery has screamed his head off since going to bed last night. Ok, well, not continuously -- but it sure feels that way. He had a terribly fit-filled night of sleep where he growled at some unidentified something repeatedly, like he's annoyed out of his mind. Which leads to a morning of frustration and tantrums (for him too) where everything makes him mad and nothing seems to go right and everyone is out to get him. He's been sent to his room twice, has made his sister cry, his older brother argue and his mother YELL!!

Isaiah has been unmotivated and unfocused. I've had to redirect him repeatedly in order to get him to finish transcribing 3 sentences... 3!... pu-lees, it took him half an hour to rewrite 3 sentences - and all he had to do was make sure they had a capital letter and punctuation... I had to point out the lack of one or the other on 2 of the 3 sentences he transcribed. Mind not in it, son?

My mind isn't in it. If you've been wondering why I haven't written anything down here for a few months it's because I can't put two thoughts together anymore... much less type them out. It might get better, but don't get your hopes up. :0)

Oh yeah, and all of the above happened between the hours of 6:30 and 8:00 am. I'm ready for bed.