Monday, January 26, 2009

What's UP??

A few days before Christmas I decided to throw a Surprise Birthday party for my husband’s 50th birthday in January. I borrowed the plans Suzanne used for her husband’s party. (We missed their party because we were in DC the end of Sept.) She told him some friends were coming for dinner and surprised him with a lot of people for a party.

So on Christmas Eve I used Evite and sent out 60 invites to all kinds of friends new & old for his party.

Then the cleaning began!!

Everyone has been checking in on Unschooling Catholics Yahoo group about Flylady and believe me there was an enormous amount of cleaning going on around here!

The weather for the first 2 weeks of January has been in the high 70s and even over 80 some days. It was very nice for opening the windows and letting in fresh air.

I was worried my husband knew about the party when even he helped clean and he painted the family room! It had been on the “honey do” list for a while and now it looks great.

The party was on Friday the 16th. His birthday was actually the 24th. Mine was the 20th.

The Surprise worked! We disguised the evening & dinner as Suzanne’s daughter’s birthday which was the 15th. Our families do everything together so it was not out of the ordinary.

When he arrived home a few people were here and we yelled surprise!!

He says he didn’t know until he was in the driveway and my oldest was acting weird and was dressed nice in a polo shirt – this made him suspicious.

Over the evening we had over 45 people arrive. Neighbors, friends from church, from old jobs, from law school and I was able to email a few of his clients that came.

I went and picked up BBQ shredded pork from a restaurant and bought lots of appetizer trays from costco.

We had a chocolate fountain and brownies.

The party was a lot of fun and a huge success.
And my House is so clean!
Of course the normal chaos of 3 kids is quickly cluttering it up but when you start with a good clean base, it is easier to keep up. Flylady… tell them to have a huge party so the house gets cleaned!

Saturday I woke up and was sick the whole day. I drank a tiny bit so I was not hungover. I think it was a migraine mixed with the let down of all the adrenaline I had pumping for the few days before the party. I never left the sofa and sweet Katie stayed by my side all day helping with the bucket. My poor husband had to help too and also had to do dishes leftover from his party. Luckily I did most of the cleanup for an hour after everyone left at 10:30 the night before.

Monday we met Suzanne and 2 of her kids at Legoland and had a great time. (See we do lots together)

Tuesday was my birthday and I got to go to the DMV for 2 hours to renew my license.

I did get up in time to watch the Inauguration and then hoped no one would be at the DMV, but I think it was closed Monday and everyone had the idea I did, so it was really crowded. I took a book I’ve had for a couple years and was able to read 60 pages – The Two Women of Galilee. That was a good novel to pass the time. I stopped for a coffee & scone on the way home. Relaxed the rest of the day and then we went out to dinner. We used a gift card a neighbor gave us at our birthday party and we had the most delicious filet mignon!

I have been reading several (6) books about Padre Pio. I wrote in to Sabine & Beate to let them know I was reading a praying after Michael’s accident of my prayers and devotional time for his healing. Now I’m picking up “Revelations of the Divine Mercy” and doing research on my Saint of this year: St. Bernard of Clairvaux. I emailed in and that was the Saint who chose me this year.

Friday we left early in the morning and drove up to Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains. It is about 3 ½ hours drive. We put the kids in lessons, James was in snowboarding, Katie & Derek in skiing. Geoff & I were able to ski together for a couple hours. Then we skied with the kids. The hotel was nice and the restaurant in the hotel was very good Italian. Plus 2 kids ate free.

On Saturday Geoff got to ski for free because it was his birthday. James & Katie took 2 lessons and Derek took one. I had already paid for one lesson and a second lesson for them was only $5 more. They were having fun there, wanted to do it, and they could only go on beginner lifts.

For Derek it would have been $20 to take an afternoon class and his lift pass let him go on all lifts -- so we took him to the top of the mountain and it was incredible to ski down with him. I got some video of them in the next entry on my blog.

SO what else is up??

I struggle with the balance of do we homeschool or unschool. I let them play a lot (they are all on the Wii right now) but I try to get them to do spellingtime, vocabtime and the geography lesson on the internet.

James is good about doing it almost everyday, but Katie hides under my radar. She goes off on the porch or outside or into her room and "reads". Mostly she listens to music & sings. Whenever I mention doing some kind of lesson I just get huffing & puffing.

I have both of them doing Teaching Textbooks for math. It is level 5. James is finishing up the lessons. I let him skip a lot and just do the Quizzes for each chapter. If there is something, like adding fractions that I know he needs to know I have him do that lesson to make sure he can do it.

Katie is just starting TT and is on lesson 9. She is scoring 90-100 on the problems so it is at her level so far.

Derek is on lesson 78 of "Read in 100 easy lessons". He started on lesson 19 in Sept and zoomed to about lesson 60 before we left on our trip the end of Sept. After we returned it is worse than pulling teeth to even mention trying to do a lesson. He can read the lesson just fine, so I don’t know where his hesitation comes from. I see it from the “you’re almost done with this book” perspective and I just want him to finish this book.

But I also see that he is doing great and just turned 6 so there’s no hurry and I do let it go for days at a time.

We took a break and did a few booklets from the "Little Stories for Little Folks" Catholic Phonic series. That went well for a couple days break from the other book.

Today he opened up to lesson 79 and the first word was new. "I hate new words". I said try to read it. "Fast" Well he doesn't have any problem and we both laughed. He was interested in the story because it was "part 1" and tomorrow we'll read "part 2" He just stared doing CHC "My very First Spelling Lesson" He's done 3 lessons, one a day. To me it is more for handwriting. He is practicing 3 letter words that he can read and working on handwriting.

For math he just started a Math 2 by Seton book I had laying around that Katie didn’t use. He’s on page 16 and able to do the double digit subtraction so I know that book is not above him. Today it was Greater than >, Less than<. First I drew a sign and turned it into an alligator. I said the alligator always wants to eat the bigger number (of fish) so he always turns his head that way. He got thru 2 pages of work. "Wait! I only need to do one page a day!" So it wasn't so bad he kept going without knowing.

I’ve been having other troubles with Derek. I think it is developmental. Separation anxiety?? Wanting to be with mom and that pull to become independent. He's my most snuggly child. Still wants to snuggle and fall asleep right next to me on the sofa every night. The issue is : He is my only child that says he’s BORED. My other kids find things to do and would rather be left alone and finding their own things to do. But He will get into a tantrum and become angry when he is bored and can’t find anything to do. Of course I try to give him ideas or offer to give him all my attention with a book, movie, game, craft or legos or something. But it usually makes him more irritated that he can’t think of it himself and he turns it all down.

I think part of it is that he has boundless energy -- because it usually starts when he want to go outside in front of the house to ride bikes or something and I say that it is not a good time right then.

We just enrolled him for t-ball which starts in a couple weeks. I think that will help a lot with his energy and giving him an activity and an outlet. I also emailed about a homeshcool Karate class for both of the boys 2x a week.

Next Issue: Show me the Money!

My husband is a lawyer and has maintained his own office downtown (since '93) while also working the past 4 years in a salary position with a Mortgage company.

That company had dwindled down over the past year to nothingness. So we knew it was coming, but the actuality of not having a job & salary this month is scary.

I spent a few hours the other day looking into health insurance for next month. We thought we would be OK because the Mortgage company owner’s family and our family make a group medical insurance plan. The business has also gone under because the owner developed Stage 3 colon cancer this year. They found the tumor in Sept and he was on chemo for a couple months to shrink the tumor before they took it out in Dec. We thought we could stay with insurance with him, but it is not working out that way.

Geoff had a client interview on Friday with a restaurant that may file bankruptcy. He is trying to build up his own law firm again with clients to support our family. Otherwise he is also looking into joining another law firm. He has an interview with a firm this week.

We are all so “into” unschooling that he dreads punching the clock and working for another firm.

He set his own hours with his own firm and even with the Mortgage company. He would work some from home the past few months in the morning after exercising and then go in when he needed to.
I told him to do what makes him happy.
I’ve really come to learn that we can agonize over a decision and lose sleep over it when really all decisions can be changed -- If you try something and don’t like it then move on to the next thing. You don’t have to call it quitting.

So I am leaning toward a law firm job because we have 3 kids that need medical insurance and dental work and braces. He could try the law firm if they offer him the salary we need and if he doesn’t like it then he can try something else.

But I also really like our free schedule and having him home with our kids during the day. So having his own firm and own hours would be great too.

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