Friday, October 24, 2014

Dear Baxter,

Dear Baxter,
I love you so much.  You are so cute and so sweet and so eager to explore.  I love being your Mama.  You give sweet kisses, you hold my hand, you snuggle better than most.  I just need to talk to you about something, though, okay?  In the mornings, the other kids have this thing called school.  We go down in the basement and they each have a desk.  Sometimes we all do things together, like read a story or look at the calendar or even an art project.  Sometimes I work with each kid individually and need to really focus and concentrate.  Can you do me a favor and stop screaming at the top of your lungs when we're trying to work?  You seem to be having a great time playing with blocks or climbing on the play kitchen or even chewing on the pretend farm animals.  As soon as I try to get some real intense work going or need to give instructions, though, there's nothing that will keep you happy.  The train table doesn't work.  Holding you doesn't work.  Even trying to get you to sleep doesn't work. I've tried waiting to start school work until after you're down for a morning nap.  It worked once, but you caught on!  You completely skipped a morning nap the next day!  I've tried starting school earlier but that seems to make you want to cry earlier.  Oh, yeah, I even tried taking a break to play with just you after doing a little school work, but then I think you got mad that we went back to work again.  I promise one day soon you're going to have your own desk and your own pencil holder and crayon box that you'll love.  Let's don't rush it, though.  For now you just keep playing with those board books you can chew on and cruising around the train table and gnawing on those Thomas trains that will one day be yours.  I promise, too, that the less crying screaming you do while I'm trying to talk, the more time I'll have to play with you!!!  Here's a little secret, too...shhh, come about 15 years, all the other kids will be old enough to go on to college and guess what?!?! You'll get me all to yourself for THREE WHOLE YEARS!!!  Seriously!!!  Rachel didn't even get that much time before Ford came along.  And poor Ford and Ruby have never had me to themselves, but won't you be lucky?!?!  Just give me a little time now and it will all be worth it!  What do you say?
(You know, the lady you think you're still connected to!)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Things we need to work on

Rachel--writing better sentences.  Rachel can tell a story or give details verbally but putting it all on paper is much harder for her.  So, I've been having her write journal entries every day and today I decided to work harder on that with her.  She was in tears because I told her she capitalized a word that didn't need to be capitalized and that she needed to give me more details.  Man, I'm harsh!  Maybe what she really needs work on is taking constructive criticism...don't we all!

Ford--paying attention.  Ford likes to get through his school work as quickly as possible so he can get on with his playing.  Most of the time he does good work except that it can be a little messy.  I tried to help him stretch out his learning time today by giving him a math game to play with Rachel.  They both liked rolling the dice and adding the numbers.  Then I gave them a word game to play.  Rachel got pretty bossy and Ford could care less about spelling, so that one didn't go quite as well.  Maybe he needs to work on getting along with a controlling older sister??

Ruby--so hard to pinpoint.  Some days Ruby can write all of her numbers and letters and even spell words and read a little with no help.  Then she comes the next day and writes everything backwards or cries because I ask her what a word is.  Let's just say she needs to work on consistency.

Baxter--not crying while I'm giving instructions.  Never fails!!  He screams while I'm trying to explain things or transition to another activity.  So hard to work around!!  Oh, and maybe you could learn to walk?!?!

Me--patience.  Patience with my children.  Patience with my housemates.  Patience with the building process.  And just patience in general.  I should also try to get more sleep!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Traveling through time and across the globe

Ford and Rachel are on two different Social Studies paths right now.  Ford is making his way through the continents (South America starts tomorrow) while Rachel is traveling down the Nile to learn about pyramids and King Tut as well as heading over to Mesopotamia.  Every now and then they overlap (Ford needs to know that the pyramids are in Egypt which is in Africa), but there's not much common time in their lessons these days.  Ford has almost mastered telling time on the clock and Rachel has conquered adding 2 and 3 digit numbers (just don't mention that whole "carry the one" thing yet!).  We're exploring bats and spiders all together and next week is Pumpkin Week!!  I'm hoping to measure pumpkins, carve pumpkins, roast pumpkin seeds, read pumpkin stories, eat pumpkin name it!!  Hopefully we'll have lots of fun!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Children's Museum

Ms. Lisa was so kind to take Ingram School on a field trip to a children's museum yesterday.  There were very few other people there and Baxter was able to be free and explore right along with the big kids, so everyone had an awesome day!  This museum had so many different cool places the kids could play.  Ford especially loved shoveling the coal into the train and the girls liked riding on the dining car.  Rachel's favorite was working in the grocery store and organizing the bakery.  Ruby loved playing post office and the theater.  Oh, the theater!  It was Ingram School at it's best!!! There was a stage with a curtain, instruments, COSTUMES, a backstage for changing, lights, even a piano!  I'm going to try to attach the video of Ford and Ruby's "play"'ll get a much better idea of why we refer to Ruby as "Christina Farley" sometimes!  There was so much more they loved, too, like a doctor's office, climbing wall, Nonnie's house with chickens and a garden plus a dining room and kitchen, a construction area...and I haven't even mentioned the outdoor area!!  What an awesome day!  Thank you, Ms. Lisa!!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014


We had a good time in our rearranged space today after a somewhat frustrating morning of chores.  It's like pulling teeth to get three kids to make up their beds, get dressed, brush teeth, and put away any laundry I've folded the night before, but I know if we don't do it before school, it won't get done.  I'm trying really hard to create a sense of responsibility for everyone and keep some order around here!
Ford did a great job learning a little about England and Europe, learning to read the hour hand on the clock, and reading out loud today.  Rachel LOVES writing in hieroglyphics and even made her own alphabet today. She also did some coloring which she doesn't normally like to do and some skip counting which was just review for her.  Ruby sorted pictures into Day, Afternoon, and Night and read a Halloween book with me.  Baxter pooped three times and didn't take a morning nap...let's just say he didn't get a gold star today!
After our school work was finished and the basement cleaned up, we went to the grocery store and got flour to make cloud dough. They were so well behaved at the store so I got them something magical (in their eyes)...Apple cider!!  They were so excited!  We came home and made cloud dough (8 cups flour, one cup oil) and they had the best time. It was basically like bread or biscuit dough to them so I gave them some butter knives and they had fun pretending to be chefs.  Rachel even made petit fours...didn't know she even knew what those were!!  Ruby, unfortunately, kept trying to eat it (and it tasted NASTY!), so after three times, she had to get down and find something else to do.  She ended up making a castle and "preparing for a visit"...whatever that means!
This afternoon Rachel has art and Ruby has ballet...probably everybody's favorite afternoon.  Ford likes that I get to have just the boys for a little while.  We usually put Baxter in the stroller and walk from art to ballet to pick up Ruby and back to art to pick up Rachel.  Hopefully the rain will hold off this afternoon and we'll get our Wednesday walk.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hello, my name is Carrie and I rearrange things when I get stressed.

The funniest part of this blog title is typing my name!  It occurred to me as I was typing it that I can go days without being called by my actual name.  Usually, I just hear "Mama!"  Even Baxter yells it now, too.  Anyway...
Life is crazy, life is chaotic, my face is breaking out, closets and dressers are out of control and the world is spinning too fast!!   I need the outside world to hurry up and our inner world to slow down.  My goodness we've been living in someone else's space for over 4 months now and I can't find anything!  On the flip side, Rachel is almost SEVEN and Baxter is days away (well, maybe weeks) from walking.  Not to mention, Ford's obsession changing from Thomas to Batman and Ruby's independent streak.  It's all crazy!
So, what's a girl to do?  Well, I rearrange things.  Allen let me have time alone in the basement to rearrange the desks, vacuum the rugs, clean the chalkboard, and make a more baby-proof space.  See, I can't do this while the kids are with me because they'll tear it up or argue...can't do it while they're asleep because I'll wake them up...and we've been gone or busy so much lately that there just hasn't been any time.  I feel so much better now, though, knowing that the first part of our day should be less hectic and chaotic and Baxter has more places to play while we work.  Things are going to be better!  I mean, we even have water hooked up at the road and an official survey done for where our house will sit, too, so now I feel like we're moving in the right direction.  Can't wait to have my own space to rearrange!!!