Friday, August 31, 2012


Reece started dance!  She disliked t-ball so much that we let her pick what activity she wanted to do for the fall.  She picked dance.  She loves it so far!

School Daze

After our trip, we had a lot of catching up to do when it came to school.  I did take some school stuff with us and we did some of our reading in the car.  I also do some stuff on Saturday mornings if we are free...just to keep in the she doesn't really know yet that kids don't go to school on Saturday!  And we probably do stuff on holidays Monday is labor day and I plan to keep working on.

This week we added math, science, and history/geography.  She is loving the math and science so far as it is so hands on.  We learned about rainbows, the rain cycle, thunder/lighting, and snow.  Writing has been a chore this week and think she just gets bored with doing it...she knows it's long and she knows how to do it so I think she just doesn't want to.  After a couple of days, her assignments change and they will hopefully be more fun.  She cried most of the day yesterday and that was frustrating for me.  I think she has just had a lot of changes plus lack of sleep do to roofers and vacation.  We also implemented a "no blankie" rule.  Her blankie has to stay in her room at all times.  I think that is the biggest source of her emotional-ness.

During math we have been using shapes to make patterns.  She has pattern sheets but the last two days she was required to make something on her own in 5 minutes.  I was surprised at what she came up with.

 After school was done in the morning we went to the Miller park with some friends and ate lunch and played.  I like to call that lunch and recess.
 Her science paper...learning the cycle of rain and also rainbows.
 Her official Kindergarten pictures.

Wisconsin Dells Trip

We took a little vacation over the weekend and came home Tuesday.  Just wanted to post a few pictures of it.  We had a good time but I was a little on the edgy side, just because we have so much going on at home...still in the clean up process from the storm, school, and other activities starting.  Lots to think about.  Everyone is overly tired...the day after we got back we had roofers who started before 6am.  There hasn't been a whole lot of catching up and school work has been more difficult.  We will prevail!!

On the duck ride in the dells
 Brody is really into picking he takes time to stop and smell some.
 Brody really enjoyed his duck ride!
 Going down the river on the duck ride.  So pretty.

 Daddy and Brody on the ducks
 Reece at Moose Jaw Pizza Pub
 Brody playing hide and seek while we wait for a table.  He's his dramatic faces!

 This is where we stayed - Hotel Rome at Mt Olympus
 Brody getting tired of waiting for his go-kart race.
 Reece and mommy on their go kart ride!
 Part of the awesome water park

 First bigger roller coaster ride...the loved it.

 Fake teeth they won at the arcade.  Aint they the cutest thangs? :)
 Reece's big roller coaster experience...she went the first time with me and another time with dad.

 What I rolled over to one morning...he's such a character.

 Paul Bunyans cook shanty.
 Cheese heads!!!
 The candy store

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The "1st" day of Kindergarten

While most traditional schools have a "1st" day of school, we have been easing our way into school but plan to go full speed ahead Wednesday August 29th.  About 4 weeks ago, I started giving Reece handwriting assignments.  Since she learned to write in preschool, this is basically a lot of practice in writing before she gets to her assignments this year.  She has been doing well with this routine except that it is taking a little longer than I expected.  She feels she needs help with writing but I know she knows it and it's more of a matter of attention.  This is one subject/assignment where I thought I could just have it laid out and she would just do it on her own.  It's been getting better over the weeks but still needs some work.  Having our "school room" set up, has also helped - not as many distractions.

This week I added reading and bible.  This consists of her reading a small book every day of the week, and me doing some read-alouds with her.  Some are from a nursery rhyme book and another is a chapter book. Right now we are reading Box Car Children - something I was required to read in 5th grade.  We are very much enjoying that.  She also listens to "Sing the Word from A to Z" focusing on a verse each week.  This week was "All have Sinned".  We are also reading a bible story each day.  Our Math curriculum doesn't start until September but she has been doing some things with pattern blocks and doing her calendar stuff each day - We did this all summer.  And then course she has her chores to do.  So far all of that has been taking about an hour and we start the moment she gets out of bed.  We have been getting everything done including chores, dress and fed by 8:30.  Next Wednesday we will start the other part of math, science, history, and geography so it will take a little longer.  I'd like to keep the routine the way we have now and that way when Brody goes off to preschool at 9, Reece and I can continue with math, science, geography, and history when he is gone.  Those are the harder subjects I think and will require more concentration.  Brody usually reads with us so that works out well.

Things have been going a lot smoother than I thought so far.  I really hope it continues.  She will start dance next Thursday (the 30th) and then Awana the week after.  We are also going to try and make MOMs groups every other Friday morning and we'll be watching a little girl a couple of days a week.

I saw the school bus come to the end of our street and wait (even though I told the school she would not be attending).  I got all teary eyed when I saw it there and then leave.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  1st...I was happy that it wasn't actually picking her up and that she will at least  have another year home with me.  I am glad to be her teacher this year!  But there was still another part of me that was sad she was not going.  When I THINK of homeschooling, I get overwhelmed, but when I am actually DOING it, it feels natural, and I think "what was I worried about".  I also have been thinking about her missing out of the kindergarten experience at an actual school which kind of gets to me.  I told her yesterday that most of her friends actually went to school today.  I asked her if she was sad that she was not going, and she said no that she liked doing school at home better.  Part of me says she doesn't really know what she is missing but the other part of me really liked her answer!

I have some  pictures of our school room and routine.

This is our "to do chart".  These are magnets just like her chore chart.  It has all the subjects we will be doing for the day.  there is another small magnet on the front of them.  When she is done with one, she turns it over to show that it is completed.  I thought this would better show her all we have to do for the day and make her feel accomplished when she is done.  Of course I have some fun ones to add, like field trips, computer time, play doh, etc.

 The ones that are all done...
 Our calendar in progress.

In her PJs reading her first book.
 Doing some work
 Brody singing along with the bible verse song.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thoughts the day after the Tornado (8/9/2012)

(*written the morning after the tornado but things got busy and it wasn't completed now).

Laying in the bed this morning in the dark after a restless nights sleep, it was nice to hear some birds finally chirpping as they try to find new homes. It was a nice cool night and morning with our windows open. Shortly after the birds, I could hear chain saws and wood chippers going over the generator that supplied our electricity. Thoughts flooded my head of the events that took place a short 13 hours before. It was odd to look out the front door and see a full view of the neighbors house. The two trees that were there before were cut up and laying an the ground. All my landscaping and flowers were stripped and leaves add a green new paint to everything.

What happened anyways? Some say they saw funnel clouds and rotations, others say 65+mph wind shears.
Photo taken by a friend somewhere off of route 9...

 Around 3:45 on Thursday August 9th, my kids and I went out to pick some tomatos. It was getting dark and started to sprinkle. Brody said he wanted his rain boots. I helped him find them and thought it would be a good "Kodak" moment since he was wearing shorts and a pair of rain boots - no shirt. We saw the neighbor moving some crafting projects inside of his garage to save them from the rain that was on its way. His wife was away to Hobby Lobby getting more wreaths for her craft. We head over there to say hi and have our usually 4pm snack. We grabbed a few lawn chairs and sat in the garage watching the rain. I remember looking up to see the clouds and saying "wow, look at those clouds...they are moving so fast...this will be quick storm". The neighbor then said "look at the neighbor's trampoline...I think it's going to go".

Then the rain picked up and it started hard and fast at an angle that we were getting pelted in the face. And then all of a sudden, the wind gushed through the garage pushing us back. The neighbor yelled "Get in the basement". We rushed to the back door, tried to shut the garage, but it was too late - no electricity. I rushed the kids downstairs with a flash light and the radio. The neighbor said he saw the rotation hit the pavement of his driveway. I went back upstairs and looked out the window and it was already a matter of 5 minutes. Trees uprooted...shingles scattered...leaves and hail plastering houses and littering the yards. I couldn't believe my eyes as I looked outside. I stepped out into his garage with water and hail up to my ankles. Everything was pushed back in the garage and the foundation of the east side of the garage was pushed/bowed out.

I immediately went home and grabbed my camera. I tried several times to get ahold of my husband. Three times we were cut off and all he heard me say was "everything is gone". What I actually said was the trees were all gone. Imagine driving home for 30 minutes thinking your house is gone.

Meanwhile the dog was at the vet. I took him there in the morning to have some teeth cleaning procedure thing in which they had to put him under for. Brock was to pick him up on the way home. Given the circumstances, he had a guy in the office go pick up the dog for us. An hour later, the vet called to tell us that they gave him the wrong dog! Turns out the owner of the other dog lived close to him and walked down to exchange dogs. He brought the dog to town and met my mother in law who picked him up. My poor dog will never want to go to the vet again! Gets put under, wakes up to 2 different owners and his territory as he knew it was completely destroyed.

We had lots of help cutting down things and moving things around. My sister in law and mother in law brought food and drinks. We very well taken care of and supported. Clean up begins or continues. We are so thankful that we were not harmed by this event. It sure felt like a close one when we saw all the damage that happened around us. It sure looks different around our neighborhood. I love seeing all the community support.
Neighbors 80 foot tree that was uprooted and laying on their roof.
View out my garage when I ran to get my camera.  That steam is from the hail and the heat hitting.
Our front yard tree.
 Neighbors trees
One of our back yard trees...view of neighbors.
 Front of house where the tree fell on it.

All last week we continued to make progress.  On Monday, Direct TV came out and replaced our battered dish.  The air unit guy came and cleaned out our air units from debri and fixed the fans that were pelted by hail.

On Tuesday Brock stayed home and took in all our ripped screens from the windows and had all those replaced.  He also put back our broken retaining wall that fell due to heavy trees laying on it.

Brody ran to hug BeBe (the neighbor) who was sad that her trees were being cut down.
 Checking out their new territory
 Watching trees being cut down.
The empty neighbors forrest where the kids use to play.  This was full of trees...they lost 13 50-80 footers!

 The dump pile from our street and the streets around us.  It was at least 40 feet high and 50 feet wide.
We still have to replace our roof and gutters along with a few other things.  It has slowed down a bit and we are hoping for a less busy fall...probably won't have as many leaves and things to prune since everything is wiped out.  No canning for me since my garden is gone! :(  There are still some clean up things to do and we will replace a couple of trees in the fall we hope.  Eventually I'd like to see some before and after pictures...just have to dig around to get some befores.