Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas 2007

I'd better post about Christmas 2007 while it is still 2007.

We had a nice, quiet Christmas at home.  I was greatful to not have to go anywhere.  The children slept until 8:00!?!  They got their presents from Santa*.  Wild Thing actually had coal in his stocking because of his bad behavior prior to Christmas morning.  He still has a present in the attic.

I cooked my first turkey using the Alton Brown brining method.  It took me 15 married Christmases to get around to cooking a turkey.  It was not as hard as my mother made it out to be.  The turkey was tasty.  We had mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and cookies to complete the meal.  Everyone ate too much.

We spent the afternoon playing with the Christmas presents and taking turns on the phone talking to various family members.

*By the way, we don't really do Santa here.  We play "The Santa Game" where it is known that Mama and Daddy pretend to be Santa Claus.  One of the main rules is that we do not talk about "The Santa Game" outside of our immediate family.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I'm an Aunt!

My niece was born at 12:02pm by C-section.
8 pounds 3 ounces
20 inches
Yep, she shares a birthday with Wild Thing.
Congratulations to my sister and brother-in-law.

Happy Birthday Wild Thing!

Warning:  Birth Story to follow.

It was about 5:00am December 27, 2003 when the contractions started.  The Historian and the Crafter were asleep.  I got up and started timing.  Every 8 minutes, give or take.  I called my mom so she could get ready to come.  I called the hospital.  They tried to convince me that I wasn't in labor, but what do they know.  I puttered around making sure everything was as ready as it could be.  I called my neighbor to tell her the Crafter would be there soon.  I woke the Historian.  We put the Crafter in the car and dropped her off at our neighbor's house.

We get to the hospital around 7:00am.  The Saturday after Christmas is not a good time to have a baby.  The nurse kept telling me that I might get sent home if I wasn't dilated enough, never mind that the contractions were now 4 minutes apart.  I go to my room, undress, and await getting checked.  The nurse checks me and then says "I'll be right back"  Not a promising sign.  Two minutes later the nurse comes back with an ultrasound machine, my midwife, and her supervising OB.  Not good signs either.  The doctor does a quick ultrasound.  "The baby is butt down.  You have to have a C-section.  You are only 4cm dilated, so there's no rush.  You and the baby are doing fine."  Exit OB.  My midwife apologizes because she was sure the baby was head down at my last appointment.

So we wait.  The contractions are getting stronger.  My water breaks and the contractions are now every 2 minutes.  Now I can stand a fair amount of pain, especially when there's a purpose, but since the contractions are not required for this birth and I'm supposed to be getting a full spinal block, I don't want to feel them.  Two hours from the time of the "butt down" announcement I'm begging the Historian to make them give me drugs.

The medical team finally gets its act together and I go into surgery.  Wild Thing came into the world at 10:30 am screaming and peeing.  Some things haven't changed.

Wild Thing is a source of unspeakably joy, frustration, laughter, and tears.  He keeps me humble and on my knees. 

Happy Birthday my precious gift from God.

Our family December 27, 2003

Wild Thing among his own kind.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Eve

     Christmas Eve started unusually for us.  The Historian had to leave for work at 9:30am.  He works 2nd shift, so getting up and going straight to work is a big deal.    

    The Crafter, Wild Thing, Sweetie, and I all had colds.  I had the whole sniffling, sneezing, coughing, sinus pressure and pain package.  Being sick at Christmas never surprises me.  It's a family tradition.  I tried not to complain.  Flashbacks of Christmas 2000 kept my spirits up.  The Historian and I spent 24 hours throwing up at my parents' house.

    The children and I spent the day watching junk on TV,  playing on the computer, and attempting  some crafts.  I never realized how much stuff I pick up off the floor during the course of a day.  I couldn't bend over without shooting pains behind my eyes.  By mid-afternoon, there wasn't even a visible patch of floor in the living room.  It was warm outside, so I sent the sniffly children outside for fresh air and attempted a quick clean up.

     We were walking out the door to go to the Christmas Eve Service at our old church when the Historian got home, so we got to go as a family.  The service was good.  There were carols, skits, music and vocal solos, and scripture readings.  It ended with communion and candle light.  Afterwards we had cookies and cider in the fellowship hall.  It was good to see our old friends.

Side Note:  Wild Thing fell asleep.  I spent most of the time wrestling Sweetie.   About halfway through the service, I noticed white flakes on her shirt.  Surely she couldn't have dandruff.  Then there were more flakes.  SHE WAS EATING A CANDLE!?!  When we got up it looked like a miniature snow fall. 

    We went home and put the children to bed.  The Historian gave me the best gift he could have given me:  a value size box of generic Sudafed--the kind you have to ask for at a pharmacy.  I took my cold medicine and slept in peace while he played Santa.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I Crashed a Baby Shower

My sister is expecting her first baby--a girl.  Her due date is January 3, but she will probably have a C-section on December 27 unless the baby has turned by Tuesday. 

She has had at least 3 baby showers given by various church groups. (My brother-in-law is a youth pastor.)  I was not invited to any of them.  To make matters worse, my mother and grandmother were not invited either.  This is simply not done.  The honoree at any shower should always be asked if she would like to invite any friends or family, but I guess this fine point of etiquette has been lost.

So when my sister asked if we were going to the shower at their former church (15 minutes from my house), the females of my family decided that it was time to take matters into our own hands and crash the party.  We prepared our gifts.  I even got creative and made a 4 tiered "diaper cake" using 116 disposable diapers.   I also had my "speech" ready in case we were questioned about being there.

We showed up at the shower and acted like we belonged.  The cake was excellent.  Everyone was nice, but it was evident that we were not expected to be there.  My sister thanked us for coming.  She wanted her family there and that was what was important.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Time to Regroup

We will be doing "light school" for the rest of the year.  Basically that means doing only one or two subjects per day so the Crafter doesn't forget everything she knows and doing Christmas crafts and baking.   It's also time to regroup and see what we need to do to finish third grade. 

Bible: Explorers Bible Study  No changes.

Handwriting:   Italic D   She's almost finished with this.  I want to focus more on copywork.  I haven't been good about setting that up.

Grammar:  Rod and Staff 3  She's little over half way through the book.  We will start alternating with Writing Tales 1 to focus more on actual writing rather than just language mechanics.

Spelling: Spelling Power  No changes.

Reading:  Reading books listed in Sonlight and Veritas Press catalogues.  I plan to continue this approach, but do more narrations and short book reports.

History:  Story of the World 2  I need to be more diligent with history and do at least one lesson per week.

Science:  God's Design for Heaven and Earth-- Weather  I want to be more diligent with this too and do two lessons per week.

Math:  Singapore Primary Mathematics supplemented with Saxon 54.  We should be finishing up 3B soon and then we'll start Challenging Word Problems 3.  Saxon will be for drill only.

Spanish:  I really want to start some Spanish this year.  I have the stuff (Teach them Spanish).  I haven't had time to set up lessons.

Music: piano lessons  The Historian is in charge of this one as I am musically illiterate (ie. can't carry a tune in a bucket with help).

Art:  I really want to do some kind of art appreciation and drawing instruction.  Once again, I have the stuff (Visual Manna, Drawing with Children).  I just haven't taken the time to organize lessons.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What We Did For Thanksgiving

We had a fairly uneventful holiday.  The Historians family didn't meet at all due to work schedules, family obligations, and a minor surgery.  My family put off Thanksgiving until Saturday because that was the only day when everyone could get together. 

So Thursday and Friday passed quietly.  Saturday morning I awoke to Sweetie coughing and then crying.  I went to get her.  Wild Thing met me and said "I threw up in my bed."  I sent him to stand in the bathtub.  I went into Sweetie's room.  Guess what?  She threw up in her bed too.  I woke the Historian.  He tended to the baths.  I worked on cleaning up the messes (by the way, my dryer hasn't worked since October) and spraying all surfaces with disinfectant.  The Crafter stayed in her room with the door closed.  She has a hair trigger gag reflex and the smell would have sent her over the edge.  I called my Mom and told her that we wouldn't be taking our germs to her house.

Sweetie and Wild Thing recovered quickly.  By early afternoon the only sign of the event was a mountain of clean, wet clothes.  My Mom called to check on the kids.  We decided to go to her house on Sunday for leftovers.  We skipped church and went for a nice, simple meal.  We had a good visit with my parents, my grandmother, my uncle, and one of my cousins.  The only thing I really missed was seeing my sister. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Exploring Creation with Astronomy

There is no feeling like the feeling of finishing the last lesson in a school book.    We have officially completed Apologia's  Exploring Creation with Astronomy.  All that we have left to do is put together the notebook after I print the pictures.  The Crafter is not pleased with being finished, but the Historian promised that he would still take her outside for star gazing.  I would post some pictures, but I haven't figured out how.  We started lesson 1 back in June and took lots of breaks along the way.  I confess that science often gets pushed aside for reading, writing, and arithmatic.

The highlights
  • Using a round watermelon with a circle of red construction paper taped on to represent Jupiter.
  • I was explaining that the reason why we don't eat tuna as much as we used to is because of  mercury (the metal).  Then Wild Thing replies "And the Venus"
  • The baking soda/vinegar volcano (with red food coloring)
  • The hurricane tube
  • The Crafter insisting that she will always think of Pluto as a planet no matter what the astronomers say.
I usually have trouble choosing a science curriculum.  That may seem strange since I have a science background and I taught high school science and I teach college chemistry labs.  I guess I am hard to please.  I want to use Christian materials when possible.  I find that the "good stuff" is dry with black and white pictures and tends to be too difficult for elementary level and that the "fun stuff" is colorful  but generally lacks substance. 

So far I have been pleased with Apologia's materials.  They are Christian, colorful, factual, internet linked, and have fun, doable activities.  I plan to use more of them with Wild Thing and Sweetie when they get old enough.  Unfortunately, the Crafter has had to endure my experiments with other curricula.  For more information go to

Next we will start our study of weather and oceans using Our Weather and Water by God's Design.  It is published by Answers in Genesis.  It definitely falls into my "good but dull" category.  I'll have to spend more time searching for library books and internet sites to supplement this one.

Friday, November 16, 2007


     We are a homeschool family of 5.  Our homeschool name is Bradford Academy named for William Bradford.  Our "style" is more or less Classical following The Well-Trained Mind as a guide. 

     Let me introduce my family.  My husband is The Historian.  He loves to study American history, theology, and maps.  He is a deep thinker who seeks to devote himself to God and family.  The Crafter is my 8 year old daughter.  She is in third grade and the only official student in Bradford Academy.  She loves animals, books, and making all kinds of crafts.   Wild Thing is my 3 1/2 year old son.  He is all boy all the time with abundant energy and an amazing vocabulary.  Sweetie is 2.  She likes to play dress-up and talks nonstop. 

     I am the Chemist, or at least that's what I went to college to be.  I am a Christian, a wife, a mother, and a part-time instructor at the local college.  This blog is my place to work out my ideas about faith, family, homeschooling, and life in general.