Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Yeah Baybay

I aspire to knitting like some of my friends, which is to say I knit, but I don't produce much: I have successfully completed a tooth fairy bag and a waistband for some wool longies for a four year old. So I am not worthy of this bag, but I love it anyway.

Thanks ~A~.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Today is our anniversary

We were married today, 2557 days ago. He left this morning at 5AM for a four day business trip. That nicely sums up the current state of affairs, from my perspective. He's gone a lot pre-dawn, and too exhausted most days when he comes home truly to care where he is.

Money is tight--not too tight, but not diamond-jewelry, new-TV giftable either. Not that we celebrate in that manner, anyway. We're pretty subdued for most of our stuff. 7 years just seemed important to me somehow, like the 7 year itch could be kept more fully at bay if we had a wonderful day together. He's taking Friday off since he'll have been gone all week. His boss ragged on him a bit, "Why are you taking Friday off when you hadn't planned on taking Monday off anyway?" Personally, I think that's a good question.

I'm trying not to be bummed, but I am. His idea for an anniversary gift is one I love, however. We're going to plant an apple tree in the front yard this weekend, when he comes back. REALLY sappy line from a bad movie, but one I like for today:

I'd rather fight with you any day, than make love to anyone else

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Blog updates, and for Schnaygirl

My son at two.

Speaking of my son, I uploaded his birth story this morning. I also uploaded pix from our recent luncheon, and cleaned up and illustrated Breakfast with Grandmomma.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I am so happy.

I am






Friday, September 22, 2006


Montessori Mom linked to my site! Wow! Does that mean I am a real homeschooler now?

I am such a geek that this gave me warm, affirmation fuzzies. Kate, you can be sure I will be posting more details now!

Speaking of homeschooling, Schnaygirl and I got to show off the results of our efforts today. I can't not include her in this because she was truly instumental in getting me off my duff to DO it. It's awesome, and we're so happy with it.

We had some of our favorite ladies over for lunch today to send off our beautiful Brazilian goddess on her two month trip home. Alas, I did not finish the earrings, but she did choose the pattern she wanted so I have a direction for her :cough cough: Christmas gift. She got chocolate, then, for her belated birthday.

Some higher power sprinkled good-behaviour dust on all our children, because it was truly an idyllic day, to such extent that the kids actually let the mothers eat at the table AND the sun came out just at coffee and dessert, so we all transitioned nicely to the backyard.

I really enjoyed having them over, and I thought about those who couldn't make it. Indiegirl took some pictures of the kids, and I've included some of the ones of mine here.

Breakfast with Grandmomma

I had breakfast with my Grandmomma today. I was cleaning the kitchen from a particularly slack evening last night, then I made pancakes and orange juice for the kids. We talked the whole time I was doing that, me using the headphones attachment on the phone.

We didn't really discuss anything of great importance, but I was enjoying hearing her voice as I went about my motherly duties. There is a connection I have with my Grandmother that I have with no one else. My mother was not nurturing, and her mother, once a super Granny as well, was broken into bitterness by life's long, cruel circumstances. My Grandmomma, however, was only able to bring forth one child. She miscarried another, then never conceived again. She adopted a second son, and the two boys of the same age completed her family. They both married early and quickly produced their first children just three months apart, my cousin and I, both girls. Three more grandchildren later, my Grandmomma found herself surrounded at last with the bounty of children she'd always wanted, and she reveled in it.

My grandmother was the blessing-and-curse MIL we all both fear and wish for. Unbelievably attached to her sons, she truly demanded to be informed when they so much as went out to dinner, lest she call and not get an answer at their home. She cried like a baby and held a family intervention when both sons chose not to continue attending her church, and worse, any church at all. Her intrusive entitlements extended to the grandchildren. If she didn't like the answer she got from a DIL about a health concern, Grandmomma would take the child to her own choice of pedatrician for a second opinion. She'd nag the parents incessantly because their smoking stank up the children's hair and clothing. She'd give the children soap and shampoo along with their other birthday gifts, if she believed the children were looking particularly disheveled that year.

But as with few others on the planet, I can see her motivations were always well-intentioned and pure: she cared for the child first, come what may. She may have been misguided at times, she may have been wrong at times, but even her daughters-in-law never questioned her heart. As one of those children, I was protected, loved and nurtured with a ferocious intensity.

She was also the MIL who would babysit on a moment's notice, even overnight. She never turned anyone away from her table, certainly not her grandchildren, no matter how young the infant. She'd buy clothes and groceries when it just wasn't going to happen otherwise. She took the grandchildren to church, to restaurants, to plays and on vacations. She'd spend weeks-- literally weeks-- with the kids at her house, folding us into her life and rhythms.

All I can compare it to is old-world family life, Southern American style. I grew up in a truly multi-generational family of origin, knowing my great-grandmother well (she died when I was a young adult), being known by her mother (who died when I was a toddler), and having personal relationships with each of my Grandmomma's siblings. We ate together every week, we planned picnics so large they were suited only to parks, we vacationed together, celebrated together, grieved together. My children will not grow up knowing that kind of family community, and it is a loss I fear: the loss of the awareness of belonging to a great web of people, of the safety inherent in such a belonging.

As one of the grandchildren absorbed into their life like that, I remember my grandparents' kitchen. Grandaddy was the cook, but Grandmomma was the manager. We'd have tea every morning, and the aroma from the steaming cups mingled with the smells coming from grits, oatmeal or pancakes, forming the base of an indelible scent-memory that lasts to this day. Unlike the cold cereal or instant grits my mother served me, I could count on my grandparents providing a hot breakfast, punctuated with milk or orange juice, eggs and sausage, bacon or ham, over which we'd linger for more than an hour sometimes, just chatting and enjoying each other. I was loved, and the fact that it took two hours to complete breakfast proved it to me. As much as I don't eat it regularly, breakfast remains my favorite meal.

The 70s happened. The children borne to my Grandmomma's generation became liberated from the ideas and belief systems cherished by their parents.Cousins drifted apart. Love remained, but the sense of remaining physically close with one's family went by the wayside, quite literally. Children had grown up, bearing children of their own. Within that decade, my parents' entire marriage began and ended, climaxing in bitterness and a first for the entire family: children chose divorce. Children chose to come out. Children chose to move away. Children married outside their faith, their nationality, their race. The family began to fragment. Still vital and active in their 50s and 60s, my Grandmomma and her sibs kept their Sunday dinners together, and the holiday traditions they began remained strong while my generation enjoyed it's childhood.

The 80s happened. Unthinkably, three of our nuclear families moved to Virginia. Holiday traditions in Charleston remained, but they were more difficult now that travel was involved. Birthdays became a card and a call. My own mother kept me and my baby sister away from my Grandparents because she didn't like their opinions about her life, or their perceived influence on me, and I didn't have birthdays or holidays with them for 7 years. Alone in a neglectful, dysfunctional household, my memories of safety and belonging to something else drove me to freedom. On my 18th birthday, I bicycled the scant three miles in the punishing June heat from one grandmother's house to the other's, and reclaimed my place in the web. My sister denies ever having a place there. Another fracture, another strand undone.

The 90s happened. All the grandchildren are now grown; going to college, making choices of our own. Making families. My great-grandmother lived to meet and approve my future husband. My Grandaddy loved P-daddy, and lived to give us his blessing. Yet by the time we married in 1999, my large, great family was unrecognizable and my Grandaddy was dead. Some of my Grandmomma's sibs did attend the wedding, but a hurricane kept the Virginians away. When my first daughter was born, no one from the larger family came to visit. In 2004, three weeks after we moved to WA and a week before I delivered my younger son, the last family Christmas Eve Party was celebrated in my father's house, marking the end of a tradition established by my Grandparents in 1956. Clearly unable to attend, we called from the living room of our rental house, thousands of miles away.

We have developed our own family traditions, P-daddy and I, from even before we were officially a family. We mindfully set about doing so because we believe in growing this family, our own family, into something larger than it is; something enduring, that will enrich all our lives for much longer than the period during which our children live with us. Those traditions served us well when we unexpectedly moved across country in the dark of winter, far from any family. The children we are privileged to raise know what to expect with the coming of each season, the celebration of each holiday. They inherently know that this is way their world works, and they count on it. Moving oceans meant little to them because the fundamentals of their lives did not change. One Grandma they loved had always lived far away. Now, all Grandmas do. That's life for them; good life. They know they are loved, and their web stretches far.

For my part, I am not so easily mollified. I miss my Grandmomma. I miss her daily, weekly, on holidays, on birthdays...she shares her May birthday, sometimes with mother's day, sometimes with our second child. I sorrow that she will never see this home, this life, that P-daddy and I have carved for ourselves. Her leukemia and neuropathy guarantee that. While I acknowledge the reality that in my new role as a mother of some of those children she adores, I came under criticism and scrutiny from her that I resented, distance softens those feelings just as it attenuates our interaction. I don't just miss my grandparents, I lament that they are not a part of our daily lives. Although we lived on the coast, my Grandaddy loved the mountains, and to this day, I cannot drive through the mountain forests here without exclaiming aloud how much he would love it here.

So this morning, with the scent of pancakes and coffee interwoven with my Grandmomma's voice, I felt at home. I felt the grounding love for my own children and the tug of the loved child I once was, both informing the adult I now choose to be. And I know my Grandmomma approves. I still have her voice, and she tells me so.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


We have our new tent in our possession now. Last month's sucky camping trip left us yearning for wilderness camping, which isn't happening any time soon, but we can settle for PARKS with lots of TREES! Woohoo!

Here's the tent:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What's in a day2?

What's in a day?

We don't have a school at home, but we do have a schoolroom. We have a dedicated room where we keep most of the supplies, especially the Montessori materials. Yesterday the kids kind of went bonkers and had a 7 hour work period. I couldn't get them dressed, couldn't get them outside. Eventually I just started taking pix, because it was what I could do. I didn't get everything, needless to say, but the big ones were particularly proud of their maps and art work.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Storing up for the winter

Winters here in the PNW are very strange. The temperature is actually pretty mild, and it can fool you into thinking "hey, this isn't so bad." Truly it isn't... you're not as likely to be shoveling snow and breaking icicles off the car as you would in the same latitudes, anywhere else in the country. However we do get the blustery winter winds, and given our direct proximity to both massive glaciers and the freezing gold Pacific ocean, the wind can and will knock the warmth right out of you.

Add to that the rain: the famous rain of the Northwest that seems to fall all at once during the winter. We're also far north, compared to the "sunshine days," as G calls our past in South Carolina, which means the days seem particularly dark for us. Sun up and sun down are very close together, the sun is just not as close to the latitude as we're accustomed to, and with the marine cloud layer and constant rain you end up with this forecast:

44 degrees, drizzling rain and blue. Every day. For three months.

It does stop the constant raining, long about the middle of January, but it stays blue (but getting brighter every day) until May. Occasionally there are "sunbreaks," a phenomenon which is just exactly what it sounds like it is. Just as in the South a cloud may stray across the sun, here in the wintry PNW, occasionally the clouds will part, temporarily letting in the sun.

There are extreme benefits to this, but it's difficult to remember what they are while you're in the midst of it. Last year, at the end of November we travelled to SC and made certain to call our friends here, as we lazed half naked on the beach. That cruelty will be rewarded this year, as we are without travel plans for this winter.

We had coping mechanisms last year. We would make sure to see our friends for indoor playdates; we visited museums and the human habitrail; as homeschoolers, we had plenty of engrossing, hands-on, at-home activities. My personal favorite coping mechanism was the sunbreak alert. We stayed dressed, because at any given moment someone--whoever notices first-- will scream "SUUUUUNN!!!!!!!!" and we all dash outside. We installed natural-spectrum lighting inside.

This year, we are taking steps. Not only is the school room SO IN ORDER that it has never shone this bright, (SCHANNNNNNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYGUUURRRRRRRRRLLLL!!!!!!!!) we have turned the garage into a sort of hobby shop / gym. Our large easels are out there (spill pain on the floor? why, go right ahead?), as is the futon and some large muscle equipment. We have a stereo out there and hopefully, that's going to be the Wiggle Room in lieu of hours of free-roaming, outside activity. Uncle Monkey gave the kids a giant, colored, light-tube tree, so that will be out there adding to the groovy coolness, as will racing stripes on the floor for them to ride their bikes and trikes in dizzying circles.

Here's to less squirreliness! Think it will work?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

She got her slap on the wrist

Tina Carlsen will not serve any more jail time for "kidnapping" her son. Her attorneys struck a plea deal for her, and the state of Washington graciously admitted that what she did was with the best intent. She can stay out of jail if, at least for the next year, she is a good girl and does just what the doctors order for Riley. I am slightly disappointed, as I think she should have been acquitted, but it's clear she's doing what she thinks will get her back with her son the fastest.

In the meantime, (who didn't see this coming??) Riley has been started on dialysis at home. The surgery, which was supposed to be a just-in-case-he-needs-it-someday measure, was performed this summer. So now they've committed this baby to this irreversible medical course of action.

The custody hearing is next month. I hope the family has the opportunity to be reunited. And then I hope she and her baby get the hell out of Dodge.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Fall always was my favorite season!

Here is an email we received today:

Hi, hows it going? Question for you. How would you all like some company
from Oct. 5 thru Oct 26. Deb was going to buy me a ticket but she called Uncle Steve and he got me a ticket using his frequent flier miles for Oct. 5 Should arrive on
XXX Airlines in SEA at 8:40 P.M. Does this sound O.K. Talk to you later. Didn't
want to try your new phone # since it was going to change today.
Lots of Love, Kisses and Hugs to all. Mom!

The Mom in question is actually P-Daddy's, but I retain the happy privilege of being one of the few percent of the population who actually adores her MIL. GmaRose has never met D, and I know P-Daddy and GmaRose have to be thrilled about that first meeting; I know I certainly am. She had originally planned to come out to Washington just as we first moved here, to stay for D's birth and babymoon, but she had to have open heart surgery. As a result she missed the birth altogether, and I know this was a huge disappointment.

P-Daddy's actually so excited about it that he immediately said "I'm going to have to put in for some time off!" That takes some motivation.

It's been over a year since we had family in town, and when my parents came we'd only been in this house for two weeks. We had no established life to show off, nowhere to really take them because we didn't know the area. Now, we have all that in place and I think it's going to be a lot of fun.

Vote Down the Junk Science movement

Little incites my jaw-gape reflex faster than the junk-science-as-proof phenomenon. Ironically enough, it's what certain sectors accuse Darwin of doing: arriving at a conclusion and then going back and finding the evidence--any evidence-- to bolster the foredrawn conclusion. I've read it this year on mothering dot com, in frustrating discussions on everything from epidemiology to psychology to atopy to nutrition to social sciences.

Today's example went from one junk science assertion to the next, and totally caught me off guard. In a refreshingly reasonable and respectful discussion of the relative merits (and shortcomings) of Sally Fallon's interpretion of Weston A. Price's work, and her resulting tome , Nourishing Traditions, the discussion of salt mining in the paleolithic came up.

OK, so I don't give a Turtle's butt in Galapogos about paleolithic salt mining, but there it was.

Then someone dropped the junk-science bomb of stating:

Sorry to go off on a tangent....but there is also no real evidence that "Paleolithic" peoples or even life at all existed more than 10,000 years ago...it is all theory.



Ok, I have heard that there are people "out there" who think stuff like that. Being a homeschooler, I have seen little online enclaves of happy homeschoolers who actually teach this stuff to their kids. I happen in, skeedaddle on out of there, and leave them to their business. I know they exist. I guess even now, I am actually running into people who quite calmly drive Mazdas, eat their greens, sing in the choir, walk the dog and fold the laundry, all the while thinking Mt. Rainier is a brand-spanking new pimple on the pearly, sculpted face of the Cascades.

It's people like this that make Americans, American Christians in particular, look like Fidjits. There is a certain amount of defensiveness that I have about my life right now, not because we are homeschoolers, but because we are (ok, admittedly laid-back, Lutheran) Christians who homeschool. It's very easy for other people to jump to the conclusion that I, too, think radiocarbon dating is someone's idea of smoking dope, and that exposing the fossil record is an elaborate hoax. (Perpetuated by whom, hey, I haven't gotten that far, but I am sure they'll educate me. ) Those people, the ones who take you in the back room and swear you into the secret "real Christian" society. If you don't shut off your BRAIN and filter all curiosity and information through Brother Fletcher's skewed dogma, based in turn on his own flawed perceptions of the Bible, then you and your entire faith are destined to rot, certainly never good enough to be true believers.

I don't mind if somone disagrees with me. Do you want to use grey sea salt instead of Morton's because you believe it's healthier? Go right ahead. Should I eschew processed sugar in favor of honey and maple syrup? Possibly. Do you feed your kids McNuggets and lunchables every day? That's on you. Do you think my chicken stock is inferior to yours, because my chicken wasn't free range? Rock on! Won't drink my hormone-free, pastured-cow milk because it's been pasteurized? That saves me some dairy. Women who refuse to nurse their infants and demand vanity c-sections to preserve the integrity of their vajayjay piss me off, but I also fully believe they're entitled to their decisions and I am not going to attempt to legislate them. Any of them.

But don't dare tell me I need to ban books, or insist that I "acknowledge the possibility" that our planet is indeed a "young earth." I really don't need to have that as a blip on my radar, and it is bad dogma disguised as JUNK SCIENCE. I have always objected to the legislation of religion, and this is a none-too-subtle way to sneak it in.
Freedom of religion goes hand in hand with freedom from religion.
It's dangerous and yes, here's that word again, crazy, to try to bust us all back to the literal dark ages because it was easier to manipulate the ignorant Mob. The dumbing-down of America started with us resting on our laurels, but it's going to be perpetuated by our grown children squabbling over who invented the lightbulb, Edison or St. Peter. When one can't discuss a diet, without some random person acting on the compulsion to insert dismissive inanities about religious-based scientific theory, then it's not too large of a leap to imagining stalled legislative discussions. Coal reserves? Why bother with conservation techniques? Didn't God give us all we need? Wait! Coal can't exist, anyway right? That would mean we had compressed fossils turning into energy sources.....ummmm........Let's move on to that statue in the Smithsonian.... I think that bronze David needs a new grape leaf, for sure.

Please, please, please vote. Because these people have the same power you do to shape our society, our government and our future. You may be raising intelligent, reasoning, sound future citizens, but they have peers who weren't given the same opportunities. The best thing you can do for the future of children you love is to ensure that they inherit a free America.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Luscious Links

I was tagged to give up some of my homeschool kiddie links. I have so many, it was difficult to narrow down to just five. These are some barely representative ones.

Homeschool Lesson Plans -- Good way to get some ideas when you've hit the doldrums

Montessori Mom--One of my favorite Montessori homes on the web. This mom did not play around. Further, she takes pictures of each and every activity her homeschool offers and describes how it was made and what its intention is. I completely aspire to that kind of cataloging, because I am just that nerdy.

Golden Beads Online
-- Montessori math manipulatives in an online form

Starfall / Study Dog -- These two have a similar place in our homeschool, so they are up here.

SFS Kids -- a fun place to learn about and compose music

I put the rest here

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The New First Grade

I am constantly surprised by how people react to the concept of homeschooling. A new one for me recently was that one mother was saddened for her child that one of her friends was "taken away" from her at school, to be homeschooled. The mother was also irritated that another kindergarten homeschooler was allowed to return to class for the final weeks, ostensibly because the kid wanted to have all the cool parties, this information granted to her through the kindergarten grapevine.

I wish there were another word for what we do. It's very cool, but there are some irresponsible homeschoolers out there who do play with the concept, maybe abuse it a little. I am not talking about the people who unschool, or the conservative Christians who are attempting to isolate their children, but the ones who may indeed be just toying with the rules a bit to convenience themselves. Clearly, especially given G's current status as an ancillary student, I do believe in making use of the tax dollars we have spent. Possibly, the K student in question had been done for quite some time with his own curriculum (HS usually seem to be ahead of the game when left to their own pace) and did want to hang with his buddies. I don't know.

The thing that startled me was the concept postulated by the public school mother that the homeschool mother didn't give any thought to how the children in the class would react when the first grader didn't come to class.

Well, DUH!

With all the considerations you have to weigh, all the concessions you have to make, the studying and the explaining you have to do, the curriculums you have to research / purchase / write / reject altogether, it would never, ever enter my mind to think about G's possible, future classmates and how they might react to knowing there was a homeschooled child in their social circle... or not. I have to wrap my brain around this one some more before I can fully articulate how odd, and how bothersome, this stance struck me. That another person can be so immersed in the mainstream culture to the point of thinking that homeschoolers have to explain ourselves even to their children... it floors me.

I have linked to an article on the New First Grade, and how first grade has changed all over the country. I know from my experience in SC that this is happening there, but as the article alludes, Washington state seems to have held its ground in protecting its kidlets. I had considered (for about 15 minutes) allowing G to go to kindy, because it is supposed to be all fun and games. I scrapped that idea because I knew I wouldn't allow her to go back for 1st, and I didn't want her to have that memory in her head as a guide for what the rest of it would be like.

Super Speedy Day

For the first time in a year, I drove to nikirj's house and it was uneventful.

We simple got in the van and drove there. Then when it came time to leave, we drove home. It was little over an hour each way. No traffic, no tantrum issues, no scary knocking noises or magic smoke. For those who are local, hearing numbers like 16, 5, 405 and 90 in a sequence can send one into shivering terror like Hurley on a LOST episode. We lucked out. It was beautomous.

I have now cut 4 heads of hair in one week. Who's next?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Day for firsts

I would really enjoy it if my Aunt would visit

I speak truly of any of my family members, but at this point I am referring to my Aunt Flo. I am feeling unhinged and I can't stand it. I should pop some EPO and be done with it.

A friend of mine is leaving for her native South American country, for over two months, soon. They leave on our seventh anniversary. It has taken me months to find the perfect base for some earrings I am making her, but I am so slow with taking time to myself to craft. I would really like these to be for her recent birthday, but it may end up being a Christmas gift.

Yesterday when I had to go to the school again, Schnaygirl watched the kids for me. My house has been coming along sufficiently that she had to use her son's diapers to change D. She didn't know where I keep my diapers!!!!!! I have always had clean dry diapers laying around in a laundry basket, waiting to be put away. I thought that came under the slack but funny category. (I store them under my side of the bed in an underbed container from G's old crib)

G woke up this morning a little too early for her. She was so excited last night that the extra classes were coming through, that she had a hard time sleeping. She kept getting up and wandering out while I was enjoying my LOST fest on DVD. Poor thing woke up this morning, stirred up trouble with her brothers, got her breakfast and vitamins, then put on some sleepy tunes and went back to bed.

This is a large nothing of a post but I wanted something, anything up here in place of my DRAMA this week.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I read a blog today that reminded me of a photograph I shot, then modified, several years ago. It is still one of my favorites.

She introduces her blog in such a way that it immediately brought this photograph back for me:

Ancillary Services 2

G liked it. I hated it.

I feel.......impure. I feel the draw. I feel like I should do all of it or none of it. We decided on Tuesday / Thursdays, but the classes meet at noontime, so it's smack in the middle of our days. We like to have all day plans. I think that's a small sacrifice, but an annoying one.

Doing all of it is not an option, but these people have "it" under control. I really liked them.

It's not them, it's SCHOOL. I am revolted by the idea of my small children being corraled like that all day. I love homeschooling with my kids. But days like today make me feel like a freakshow. I am so accustomed to my little world that I really feel shaken.
WTH is wrong with me???????

OK it's late and I am freaking out. I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING. But we have property taxes sneaking up on us in October and I thought it would be a nice win-win situation if I enrolled G in music and PE at the local elementary school instead of continuing to pay for private lessons on the side.

I DON'T WANT HER TO GO NOW. For no other reason than... I DON'T WANT HER TO GO. It's not fair, it's not rational, and while they are pissing me off with their "just one more!" form bull, one expects that from the bureacracy. I am hoop-jumping their stupid paperwork as we speak, but it's making me actually, physically sick.

So she has gone to one music class, I have met the teacher and I like her program. I love how she talks to the children and this woman flipping writes grants on her own time to benefit her music program at the elementary school. Dedicated and smart, she thinks outside of the box to fund her own job and heavily volunteers in the community parks department. She's insanely wondermous and she's why I even bothered with this. I sought her out, and this is how I can get her for G.

When I think of G in her class, I am fine. But the whole sense of signing my child over in legalese, even when I KNOW it's paperwork the schools want to keep their own behinds covered........ it makes me nuts.

Is this because she's never been in school?? Ever? Am I having my preschool meltdown three years too late? We're talking about two hours a WEEK, here.

So if I pull her for my own peace of mind, then how do I make peace with G, who is very excited about it all now, because I have TAKEN HER THERE. I have set her tiny behind up for disappointment if I flake on this now. That's something I dread equally, maybe even more.


Lillian reminds me I am PMSing and perhaps I will benefit from chilling out. :)

Ancillary Services

That's what they call it when a homeschooler takes PE, art, music or whatever at the public school. We decided to pursue this because we chose not to enroll in WAVA, and HALL, which would have been my ideal, closed last spring because the PSD had to make those participants take the WASL, causing the parents to flee in droves. These classes are a potential convenience, but getting it all to come into focus is a pain in my butt, and it doesn't help me find local, secular, homeschooling contemporaries for my kids. This has been the larger goal for me for a year.

We have been pleasantly (ok *I* because I am the one doing all the contact and legwork with this) surprised with how cordial and accomodating out local PSD has been. I did my homework first, showed up with all the proper forms filled out, armed with the knowledge of what I did not have to provide. I had my declaration of intent, my ancillary services form in triplicate, and the emergency contact form. That thing is loooooooong, btw.

The first woman at the elementary school, nice as she could be, had no clue and tried to get me to first leave my file with her (uh, no, there are forms in there for you, me and the PSD), so she could call me back (no...I am standing here and this is easy), then she said "oh I get it!" and handed me an enrollment form to fill out while she went back to doing something else.

Please keep in mind, I showed up on the first day of school. They were harried, and she wasn't being dismissive. But I wasn't enrolling my daughter, either. I waited patiently while the kids went bonkers in the waiting area. We talked to the lunch lady*, the gym teacher, all while waiting. When she came back I said, "this isn't the form I need, because I am not enrolling her. " She looked befuddled but then got the go-to girl who knew exactly how things go down.

Ah, mental note: Jill is The One Who Knows.

Jill retrieved and tried to get me to fill out the ancillary services form, so I handed her the one we already had. She was surprised, but pleased. Then I handed her the other two, and she gave me the schedule of when the first graders had their classes as well as the name of the One Who Knows at the PSD office. She was VERY cool, and took a lot of time out of a crunch day to speak with us. I was impressed.

Even with how relatively smooth it went getting her hooked up, I have been struggling since Thursday with which classes to actually put her in with regards to meshing our schedule with theirs. All the first grade classes are lumped in the same hour space for their specialty classes (that's their term), so if I want her to take advantage of them and keep her with the same group, I have to send her every day. Um, no. Fine, so I break it up into two days a week. I can commit to that. That makes me pick and choose and here's where I am struggling. I wanted her to go into the music program there. They have an excellent instructor, one who is very involved in the community and who actively seeks grants to fund her own school programs. With rainy season coming though, phys ed would be something I'd like to give her as well. I am dizzy and ready to scrap the whole thing because it makes my stomach clench.

On the home front, Paul and I have been focused on changing the school room setup again so that it can reasonably accomodate the three ages we've got going. N's strength's and interests vary somewhat from G's so there is that, and we have a toddler again, which wreaks havoc on the entire system if we do it wrong.

Beyond that, I once again am having fun with it, and it's remarkable how well the kids behave when they have actively engaged homeschool projects. I have been focussed on developing the theme units we love so much, which is always rewarding for the whole family, and we purchased some k12 curriculum in math and language so that we can keep some continuity with Nikirj's girl, also homeschooled in the same grade level.

Once I get past this hump, I think I'm going to be really invested and excited about this.

Transient Temptations:

*PSD has been peanut free for this and last year. They don't allow the cafeterias to serve it, but I don't think the children are constrained from bringing it. Further, this elementary school has the children file through, pick up their (egads expensive!) lunch, then return to their classrooms to eat it. Hence NO PEANUT TABLE! NO OSTRACIZATION!

*As I was leaving, the UPS guy was unloading box after box of curriculum materials, which I recognized and liked from my own plans here, including handwriting without tears.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Really? My tomatoes haven't all ripened.