January: The Month of Change

One year has passed since our fire, and what a year it has been. The last claim has been submitted and with the last check (Oh, when will it come?) we hope to put this chapter in our lives behind us. We lift up our eyes and look towards the future finally and not on what has happened in the past. We can take stock of where we are now and not where we were before the fire.

James is still dealing with some pretty severe depression. He is being treated for that. I have also had to reevaluate who I am and what direction I am going, and so have been in therapy myself.

We decided at the beginning of this month that Posy and Ben really did belong at their school. They started attending again in the fifth and second grades. They are very happy there and we think that our time of homeschooling is coming to a close. They are so happy to see their friends every day, and I am very relieved to have the complete burden of their education off my shoulders. Homeschooling has been a blessing for our family. But we always said we would do it only as long as it was the right choice for our family. It no longer is. So we move on.

Paisley is doing great! She has one of the leads in the school play, Bye Bye Birdie, this Spring. She is sharing the role of Kim with another girl. She has moved into another honors class and is getting fabulous grades.

Tessa and Max miss Posy and Ben during the day. But we have had some fun on our own. Tessa’s favorite pasttime is to play dress up. Max’s is to climb and dismantle anything in his path. He has learned a couple of baby signs now: More, please, eat, nurse… we are trying to teach him more, but he is pretty stubborn!

Just Chugging Along

113 today and it feels every single degree of it! But who am I to complain, sitting inside here in the nice cool air conditioning? Feels pretty good right here.

Things are coming together here. Pictures going up on the wall, cable and internet finally up and running consistently, and… bridges have been burned. (What, more burning?) Nah. Yesterday I made the phone calls to remove Posy, Ben and James from school. Back to homeschooling for them! It should be interesting to get back into the swing of things.

There is finally a Catholic Homeschool Conference here though! I can’t wait to go to that!

Max started solids recently and we discovered that he is allergic to oats, and he has probably been reacting to oats and possibly other foods through my milk. It was the introduction of solids that made it really obvious though. So he is back to just breastmilk and I am on an elimination diet to see what he is reacting to. Today is day two… only 12 more to go before I can start reintroducing foods into my diet!

Paper Boy

Jay found Ben (7) rifling through our National Catholic Register and casually asked him what he was doing. Ben showed Jay that there was a picture of The Incredibles on the front and he was looking for that. Jay found the movie review for him and Ben sat down and read the whole thing!

Afterwards when Jay asked him what it said, Ben replied that the review said that it was basically a good movie.

Springing Back

What a school year! It has been quite a ride, and it’s not over yet. Looking back to the beginning of the year, I can see how much progress we have made. Reading abilities have improved, study skills are becoming more ingrained, and math facts are becoming more natural to all involved. Even the kids are starting to notice that learning is coming a little easier to them these days.

I still have so many days where I fantasize about sending them off to school, doing my house work, a little studying or scrapbooking, then fixing a snack and greeting them with a smile when they come home from school. But then I remember that this is really just a fantasy, and most days wouldn’t be like that anyway. Besides, I would really miss them.

Spring is a time that homeschooling really meshes with our family culture and stops being a way of studying. we have spent several months working really hard, but now there are things around the house that we have neglected, and yet there is still studying to do. In order to balance the two we have to kind of squish them together. The result is a day of housework here and there punctuated by reading, math, and quite a bit of play.

Lately James and Posy have been reading “Archemedes and the Door of Science” aloud to me. So I decided to just follow along on that train of thought and added in some Greek Myths (which Ben has enjoyed listening to as well) and some projects. Last week James and Posy spent a whole morning making a cardboard Labrynth for our guinea pig “Minotaurs” to run through. Tessa got a hold of it, though, before any pictures could be taken, and pulled it to pieces.

Paisley is working her way through Key to Algebra, slowly and in spurts. She has really been concentrating on History this year and the writing assignments that have gone along with it. Her writing skills have really taken off this year! She has also just begun working through C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and we are discussing that.

Posy is learning her division facts now. She is really getting fast with them. Her math book, Rod and Staff grade 3 only goes up through the 6s, but we will cover the rest this summer.

Ben’s reading abilities continue to amaze me. Yesterday I started having him read to me from McGuffey’s Third Reader. He struggled just a little bit, but overall he did better than I expected. He has been devouring Magic Tree House books like crazy, going through 3-4 of them a week!

Tessa and I have been doing a few activities in Slow and Steady Get Me Ready. She really enjoys working one on one and loves to be read to as well. Some of her favorite books are Corduroy, Goodnight Moon, and Elephants Never Forget. She loves hearing nursery rhymes and is starting to be able to fill in the blanks if I leave out a word and wait for her to say it. But she gets tired of that game pretty fast and after the first two or three times will just say, “I don’t know.”


Ben and Posy were playing hide and go seek yesterday, when suddenly there was a loud *Crash!*. Oh boy, here we go, I thought as I headed down the stairs. Jay got there first and was already (loudly) asking Ben what the HECK he was thinking…

…Crawling behind the Christmas tree and under the presents to hide.

The whole tree lay on it’s side, ornaments everywhere, branches bent and falling off. Poor kid, he just had this look of horror on his face. He had no idea that it could just FALL like that.

Long story short… after a trip to Lowe’s and to Jay’s parents house, we found a base that could hold up the tree, so even though it looks a little more battered than before, it will be OK anyway.

Dye it?

While at Mike & Annie’s house the other day, Ben noticed his favorite drink, A&W Rootbeer in their fridge. So he asked if he could have some. Annie told him that it was, unfurtunately, Diet, so no, he couldn’t have some.

His response was, “Diet? Should I dump it on my head then?”

Well all just thought that was a very strange remark until we realized that he meant… to Dye his hair. Har har… Get it? Diet = Dye it?

Smart kid, that Ben. His humor is way above my head.