October 9, 2010

Start of School

Well, I'm a little late posting beginning of school pictures but better late than never I hope!

Katrina is in Kindergarten this year! Where did that come from?!?!?! That is such a milestone to me and is filled with mixed emotions. The toddler/preschool years are over but new adventures are on the horizon.

Alex is following right behind his sister in preK. Totally a different bird, I'm learning that some things Katrina loved and worked wonderfully with her aren't his cup of tea. Definitely a boy in the roll on the floor, energetic, rough and tumble sort of way!

Max is catching bits and pieces at the beginning side of preschool. He's keeping up well in the superhero department!

Tristan is crawling and cruising and eating and smiling away.

We are at Academy again this year.

Some first day of Academy pictures...

Backpacks ready!

Max is ready

Katrina's excited

Alex (with the Wii remote)

The gang

A quick glance back to make sure Mom is coming...

And they're off!

Katrina has science (S. Avila), Five in a Row (M. Avila) and gym.
Alex is in the same science class, preschool (Stear) and the same gym class.
Max and Tristan are in the nursery but Max sometimes joins the preschool class with the other "nursery seniors" Noah and Caroline.

Katrina and Alex are in the Academy bowling league so get to bowl one game (with bumpers) each week. After that is done they may start Irish dance in the afternoon or free play...that is TBD.

At home we are using a variety of things for each of them. I still feel I'm in the trial stage so some of what I planned for the beginning of the year may be stretched over two years, saved for next year or scrapped altogether.

Katrina: Abeka K for math, Veritas Press K for reading. Sonlight K (Intro to World Cultures) for history/read-alouds/. Abeka K Social Studies (complements the world cultures and adds in community helps and some US history) Explode the Code 1. Reason for Handwriting.

Katrina was very excited to receive her books

Alex: Abeka ABC-123. Abeka K4 reading though I think I want to move him to the VP reading program. Sonlight K and Abeka K Social Studies with Katrina. Explode the Code A, B, C. Reason for Handwriting.

I have some more pictures but can't seem to find the folder they are hiding in so that will have to be all for now.

Extra adjectives

If you are going to get in your car, most people don't say "I'm getting into my automatic minivan". If you are drinking milk most people don't announce "I'm having a glass of 2% white milk". If you are putting on a tshirt most people don't inform you that they are going to be wearing "a cotton/polyester blend tshirt".

Why then do many that eat organic foods feel the need to clarify that they are eating such foods?! "I'm cooking organic chicken with organic green beans and organic brown rice" "My son is eating organic gluten free cookies" "For dinner tonight I had a salad with organic lettuces".

Are they seeking approval from their fellow organic peers? Are they trying to elevated themselves above the non-organics out there? What is your agenda? There has to be a reason why some feel the need to prove they are eating this way.

You had rice for dinner. In this context, rice is rice - white, brown, organic or not. I can see labeling packages and menus as such and but in conversation it makes me wonder your motive for adding in that adjective. If you tried a new variety, sure, provide the descriptive (I tried Spanish rice; it was delicious). Otherwise, just eat rice.

Now I have no problem with discussions of food and life style choices, blog post, conversations, etc. My radar goes up on the constant insertion of these "extra" adjectives into millions of statements and status updates.

And yes, I do know a number of people who eat organic or natural foods or special diets that do not broadcast their choices, thank you to you!

September 1, 2010

Summer Reflections

Today is September 1st. September to me signals the beginning of fall but the weather certainly doesn't seem to remember that. For awhile things had been cooling down but the last few days have been back to 90. It's putting me back in the summer mood.

A quick glance through our summer...

Time on Cayuga Lake
Aunt Mary's memorial service which brought a visit from Uncle Mark's family
Katrina's 5th birthday - yikes!!!!
Weddings, bridal showers and baby showers
Katrina danced in the end of the year Irish Dance showcase
Annual trip to Sea Breeze
Bear, Hannah and Ava visits
Luissa's highschool graduation party
Hidden Valley 65th Anniversary Alumni Weekend
Swimming at friends' pools
A couple dance lessons for Katrina
Alex's 4th birthday
Vacation Bible Schools
Family Camp

In general it was a pretty low key summer - mainly spent at the lake doing lake things as a family. Lots of boat rides, trips to the playground, a couple wineries, playing in the water, fishing, etc. Katrina and Alex gained confidence swimming, still with a lifejacket though, Katrina learned how to kayak and both are accomplished paddle boaters.

Oh I almost forgot a highlight...Katrina learned to ride a bike! She pretty much taught herself with the help of the slope in the driveway.

It is nice that my parents are at the lake most of the week so we get to see them a lot. Katrina and Alex go on walks with my dad and his very tall, white dog. Justin and my dad fish. We all enjoy time around the campfire.

June 11, 2010

Transition Time

Confession: I am a creature of habit. I like planning. Keeping to a routine comforts me.

Twist: I like the ending and beginning of things.

How that works: I like the accomplishment of completing something. I like the planning of something new and a fresh routine. I just don't always like the settling into a routine time.

Which is what I am in now.

We are currently bouncing back and forth from the lake to the city which means packing and unpacking food and clothes. We keep stuff at both houses but perishables have to go back and forth since lately I never know how long we are staying at either home. I don't own enough clothes (that fit) to keep things at both houses. The kids drawers at the lake seem bursting while home they are wearing PJ's for lack of clothing. Three hairbrushes in Rochester, coming my hair with a fork Wednesday morning at the lake.

Katrina and Alex finished up all of their preschool stuff from last year but the concept of summer vacation is completely foreign to them, not to mention I don't really like the concept but more on that another time. But we are in the process of ordering their next level of stuff so we can't really work out a routine yet. Plus I haven't figured out how to work them both into the day with Max and Tristan without loosing all my time during naps (for house things, bills, Academy work, and "productive" things like email and this!). I can't complain that they are hounding me to do school but I'm looking forward to when I feel under control with the routine of it.

I am also trying to figure out our summer schedule - family/friend visits, renters at the lake, when to be there or Rochester, family camp, kid fun activities, etc. I think this is where my main head spin is coming from...I like to have the calendar all laid out (and stick to it!). So many options.

Really all of it boils down to the fact we are fortunate enough to have these options. I just need help remembering that. Well, and maybe help weeding out some activities. Probably could use a little help with the housework too...

May 14, 2010

Academy End

Another year of Academy comes to a close! Today was filled with parties and games and setting up for open house. Katrina's and Alex's class dyed eggs, frosted (and ate) cookies, and played games. My science class had snacks while presenting their science project posters to each other and then set up their display. Tonight and tomorrow the jr/sr high kids are performing the musical "Seussical" and Open House is Sunday...should be a crazy weekend.

May 13, 2010

Accomplishing "Nothing"

Sitting down to lunch, at 2:40, again I was plagued with the feeling of accomplishing "nothing" to this point in the day. As I sipped my tea and thoroughly enjoyed me grilled cheese sandwich I reflected on my morning to see why I did not get to any of my project list items. What had my nothing day been filled with?

Early breakfast for 2, late/second breakfast for 3, lunch for 3, nursing numerous times, a couple diaper changes, a bath for 1, my shower, a couple loads of laundry, paying bills for Justin's business, helping the kids making thank you cards, snack time, more coloring and cutting...and cleaning up from coloring and cutting, reading the kids a few stories, having Katrina read to me, putting out a few fights, responding to potential renter emails...

So what I have realized is that these nothing days are truly something days! It may not be visible to others - the house won't look miraculously cleaner than it did when Justin left, my to-do/project list isn't really any shorter, I haven't invented anything or cured diseases - but I did something!

So for all of you out there that may also be struggling with plaguing thoughts of little accomplishment as you answer "nothing" or "the usual" to the "What did you do today?" question, remember we did do something today, even if it goes unnoticed.

April 12, 2010

A Vent

Now I appreciate that online banking, etc have security measures in place so they don't hand out your password to anyone who calls in but it is very frustrating that they won't give the information to a wife if it is in the husband's name. Many of our accounts are in Justin's name but I am the one that logs in for day-to-day transactions. We have a joint bank account but the log in info was created by the bank under his name so when I mistyped the password, got locked out, tried to call to get it unlocked, I was unable to be told the new password. It is frustrating when I'm not on the account (ex. a mortgage only in his name) but the bank account I'm listed on! Ugh.

April 7, 2010

For Sale


March 31, 2010

CSA vs Farmers Market

A couple years ago, a friend introduced me to a Windy Meadow Farm, a CSA. http://www.windymeadowfarms.com/ Here you pay for a share of the crops and each week you receive your portion of what ever they harvested that week. Some CSA's require you to work on the farm but this one does not. For various reasons I toyed with it for a couple years and ended up not signing up. This past year I got into going to area Farmer's Markets instead of joining the CSA.

This summer we plan on spending most of our time down at the lake so I started looking into what Farmer's Markets were in the area. I found a few but they were farther away than I was hoping. That's when I found a local CSA that has a pick up point 5 min away from the house. So I was sold on this option. But as I was reading his information I found out the next town over is starting a Farmer's Market so now I'm back to deciding between the two options.

Pros and Cons that I can think of:
CSA Pros:
* I would end up with a wider variety than if I purchased at the market. Obviously I would have the option for the same variety at the market but I would probably stick to the ones I know we eat.
* Good pick up location, probably can just grab and go. Could do easily with all of the kids.
* Prepaid so I don't have to worry about having cash on me
* Every week we would be getting more so we would have to eat it

CSA Cons:
* 20 weeks regardless of my schedule. If we aren't in town, someone else has to get the share or we forfeit it that week
* might have more of things we don't want and less of what we do want that week
* It looks like there is fruit on his list but I would probably want to buy others so may end up at the market anyway.

Market Pros:
* We pick the selection and quantity.
* If we aren't in town or have a lot left over from the previous week then we don't have to go
* Other vendors to choose from as well. The CSA's vegetable list seemed excellent but I would like more fruit varieties.
* I like the market experience.
* Multiple markets to choose from though only one is really close

Market Cons:
* Difficult if I have to bring all of the kids
* We will probably stick to our current vegetable amounts and varieties
* The local market is brand new this year so I don't know how many vendors will be there

Any thoughts?

March 6, 2010

Preschool Update

Continuing the updates...onto school.

Katrina and Alex are still doing Academy on Fridays. They are together for the first three periods (music followed by the assortment class - activities, snack, science experiments, stories, crafts, playtime, etc). Then Alex stays with the younger preschoolers for another assortment class based on letter of the week - coloring, story, Bible, play, etc and Katrina and the older preschoolers join the K-2's for gym class. Neither of them have anything structured in the afternoon. They usually join in the active games (often dodgeball, tag, or nerf guns) or playing house with their friends.

Katrina at home:
ABC-123: Been pleased with this in general. Overall I think I don't like how the math and phonics were in the same book. The math was cute (mainly number concepts to 20) but things she already knew. The phonics in the beginning was quite challenging for her but she has come a long way with it and now it seems to be right on for her. She is sounding out three letter short vowel words pretty well and we are starting on long vowel. I think it would have been better had the two subjects not been linked since she is at two different levels but it worked.

Get Ready, Get Set, Go for the Code: Katrina has like these - fun and pretty easy/straightforward. She is almost finished with the last book. The books have done the same skill introducing each letter in the alphabet and some basic handwriting practice. Because of them she is great at beginning sounds of words.

Math-U-See: I'm not a huge fan but Katrina seems to really like it (loves the video aspect) and she seems to be getting it. We've done shapes, counting, place value to 100's and now we are beginning adding. If we are given the next level I may let her keep going in it since it is fun for her but I won't be purchasing this.

Create-A-Calendar: I had always somewhat laughed at this idea thinking it was more of a craft than a learning tool (not that that is bad to have a craft!) but I really see it as a fun learning tool now. Katrina thinks she is just playing with stickers but is learning the days of the week, months of the year, number order, seasons, holidays, birthdays, etc. She's having a ball with it! I think I would do this for her again.

Letters and Sounds: Alex didn't get into this book as much as Katrina did. He mainly draws giant circles on the pages. But he feels involved and has fun. Don't know how much he has actually learned...

Numbers and Skills: Again going slowly. He likes any cutting and pasting days.

Reading list: Moving along on this. They seem to like the individual stories better than the ones in treasury editions, even the ones that have all the pictures of the originals in it. In the future I may post what we read and ones I really liked. Animals have been a big hit.

March 3, 2010

Rolls, Capes, and Princesses

Continuing with the updates I figured kids would be next...

Tristan has changed the most in the past few months. He is now rolling around, playing with toys, and has received his first war wound (nerf gun...not the dart, the actual gun...to the head while he was nursing).

Max has joined the Batman fan club. He now wears capes and plays with figurines along with the big kids. All of the superheroes seem to be called Batman at this point. He is quite a ham - singing (read more as yelling) into toys pretending they are microphones, saying things then breaking into hysterical laughter, chasing Steve the cat, and conquering the sledding hill.

Alex is still president of the Batman fan club. Daily attire is a costume, Batman is clean but Superman will do in a pinch, or a Batman cape and underwear. Makes for less laundry so I'm not complaining.

Katrina is still running the show. She is an honorary member of the Batman fan club though is often a princess or dinosaur that is visiting the Super Friends.

Back to the Blog

Things have been in flux here lately...hence the break from the blog. So I guess some updates would be fitting for awhile.

First major change: House - we left our large, country Wheatland Center Road house and moved into one of our rentals, a small, city house, as a temporary home.

The thoughts behind this seemingly insane move? The end goal is to buy a house close to our rental properties and Justin's work which is mainly on the east side of the city, one that doesn't require a TON of maintenance and remodeling. The Wheatland house was an old farm house that Justin was in the process of remodeling. Even when the remodeling was done, bring a pre-1900s house, it was going to need continual upkeep. It had 6 acres - 3 of which we mowed. We heated it with coal which meant tending the stove. Don't get me wrong - the Wheatland house was a fun house. But we are looking to simplify things in our lives right now and that house was far from simple. Moving to the city simplified our living in many ways - heat was only a turn of the thermostat away, no remodeling or major ongoing maintenance, minimal yard maintenance, close to the rental properties, Justin's work and life in general.

Why not move only once; why move into the city when you know you are moving again? We decided it would be much easier to finish the remodeling process without living in the construction. Justin could leave his tools out without having the kids "helping" during the day while he is at work. It will also be a lot easier to show the place without having to clean it and leave every time.