Sunday, July 26, 2009

We're Moving!!!!

The best call in the world came today, just when I'd resigned myself to staying here another year or two. My sister called, and we were offered a chance to rent the house we were in before, without the drama from before. And, for less money than before!!!! We are going to meet tomorrow, and we can have the month of August free! Wow, words can't express how thrilled I am right now.

I've been going over in my head the things that I'm going to get rid of, either rummage sale wise or by donating/junking/giving away. And what all I need to pack, how long it will take to move, and all that jazz. Last time, we moved EVERYTHING in a matter of 3 days! The whole house, in 3 days. Not happening this time. I've already got 1o boxes packed and stacked in my closet and room, and another 8 packed and stacked on shelves in the kitchen. Not to mention the stuff I've had packed away upstairs that was never unpacked in the first place. This should be fairly painless and easy.

I'll give our 30 day notice on the 1st, and fix whatever little things I need to fix here through the month. We need to replace a couple blinds, and patch a bit of plaster where it's cracked. And of course give the house a final cleaning once we have stuff outta the house and outta the way.

We decided to get the kids new beds from the rent a center place here, and I'll go on the first to arrange that, they're called captain's beds with a trundle underneath them. And once they're paid down, we're going to get the kids new dressers too. I'm so full of energy right now, I just can't sit still. The other place isn't carpeted so I'll have to look for some area rugs and maybe a nice large rug for the living room. So many things that I'm thinking of right now.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In Loving Memory of Mildred Mae Roberts

Four years ago tonight, at 8:16pm, my grandma passed away. I still can't believe that it's been that long. I can still feel it like it was yesterday.

It all started July 1, 2005. We'd gotten a call from my uncle Kevin, telling us that grandma was in the hospital. She'd had a heart attack and fell and broke her hip, although they weren't sure if the fall had caused the heart attack or vice versa. Her hip was broken so badly that there wasn't a whole lot they could do, she had lain there all day until Kev had gotten home and her leg was already turning black from lack of circulation. Her other leg was turning black too, she'd already had a massive sore on it that had never healed properly and her circulation was so bad that they weren't sure if she would keep either leg.
By the next day, her left leg (the unbroken side) had swelled to twice it's size and was completely black. They had to take the leg. By the next weekend, it was clear that the other leg would have to come off, as it was doing the same. She had an infection that was making her very ill. She gave up when they took her legs, and we knew then that she'd probably never make it home.

She ended up on a vent, after the surgeries, and it was like she didn't care anymore if she came off or not. She let the vent breathe for her, after the initial fight when she woke up unsure of what all the tubes and wires were. She didn't want to live that way, and the decision was made to make her comfortable and take her off the vent, and let her spend the rest of her time with her family surrounding her.
My mom, her brothers and sis, all their kids, and my sister's kids and Gabe were all there. I'd brought the other 3 up to see her on the previous weekends that we'd been there. I'd taken Fridays and Mondays off since it happened, and we would leave Thursday after I got off work and we'd drive back down on Monday evening, so she wasn't alone.
They took her off the vent about 11am, and we all spent time talking to her about our favorite memories. We talked about grandpa, and mom and her siblings growing up. Talked about all the things that we'd always hoped she'd see. Most of all, we let her know that we loved her and that it was ok for her to go and be with grandpa.
My sisters left in the late afternoon. And my aunt and uncles followed about 7-730 or so. Mom had walked them out to the car, and grandma started slowing down. It was just me, Gabe and my brothers, so I sent them for mom, told them to hurry because I thought this might be it.
Gabe and I held her hands and he gave her kisses. I tried so hard not to cry, I wanted her to remember us happy. I told her it was ok if she couldn't wait. That mom and the other kids would understand. And, at 8:16, she closed her eyes forever with a long sigh.
Mom came in a few minutes later, running as fast as she could. She knew before she got to grandma though, and sent the boys for the nurse.
Mom told me she thought grandma waited till she left, and I know that it hurt her feelings. I think grandma was trying, but just couldn't hold on any longer.

Rest in Peace Grandma!

Mildred Mae Roberts
FEB 9 1937 - JUL 15 2005

We miss you!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thinking About School

Been trying to write this post for a while, and keep getting stumped as to how to word it. Colossal writers block. I've been trying to figure our schedule and curriculum for this coming school year. I know, kind of late in the game for some and early for others. I had planned to start our school year on September 1st, just like the public schools here. But I don't know if I want to start at the same time or start a week or 2 later.
I already figured that we are going to do a 4 day school week, with Fridays off. And am tentatively thinking that we are either going to do 3 weeks on and 1 week off, or do 5 weeks on and 1 week off. That way we have time planned to do field trips, and visits with grandparents and all that jazz.
James is really thinking about Unit studies, which I think is a great idea, but I want to make sure that he's getting work in all academic areas. I'm also thinking of doing the same with Caleb and Caitlin. So I figure that we'll use our free Friday's to pick what the next weeks topic will be, and go from there. I'm also picking up workbooks - thick ones lol - that have a variety of lessons that will help them with grade level appropriate skills.
Gabe is the hard one, he is progressing at his own pace, but it still in the "fight with mom about doing school" phase. I've got some great learning cd-roms for him, and a Hooked on Phonics program, as well as a ton of games for his V-Smile, including numbers and letters and such. He's just recently (in the last week) finally shown an interest in any of the games and has even started playing a few of them. His fav's so far are Thomas and Scooby Doo, and the Scooby one is the one he is the best at.
My biggest fear is that with as slow as he is progressing he'll have a hard time learning to read and write clearly, since James learned to read late and had a really hard time with it. James reads fairly well now, so I know once we get past the hard part things will go smoother, it's just getting him to the point that he can recognize that letters make words, and words make sentences that's hard. He knows the letters, can even tell me the sounds most days, but doesn't seem to make the connection that c-a-t is cat. It took quite some time for the twins too, and both of them are still having little problems here and there sounding things out. Caitlin is reading at level, but Caleb isn't, he is more at a late kinder early 1st grade level, and has been there for over a year. That was also a deciding factor in bringing them home. He simply wasn't getting the help he needed at school, or the one on one attention to help him progress. The just read it to him and said what do you think is the answer. If he got it incorrect, they told him the answer. That doesn't teach him anything, it's really just the same as doing it for him.
With him and Gabe being at a lower level than the other 2, I'm working with both of them together on Reading skills, and phonics. Caleb can read some easy books, but gets frustrated easily. He can't spell easy, but he can spell b-e-c-a-u-s-e! I have to laugh because when he spells it out loud he sings it. "B-e-c-a-u-s-e spells because!"
James is reading chapter books, and so can Caitlin, IF it's something she WANTS to read, otherwise she pulls the "but I don't know how to sound that out!" or the always wonderful constant asking of "what's that word" over and over.
All in all, I know some of our goals for this year:

1) Gabe will learn to consistently make all the sounds of the letters.
2) Gabe will learn to consistently write all letters. (at this point I dont care if lower case or not)
3) Gabe will consistently copy and say all letters to 20 (he repeats up to 20, sometimes even higher depending on motivation, but has only written to 10)
4) Gabe will learn to put letters together into words. (ideally, i'd like him to learn at least 1 word a week, but i don't know if that's pushing to hard or not yet)
5) Gabe will learn to do simple chores (without having constant hand-over-hand to make him)

1) Caleb will learn 5 new words per week (and still be able to spell previously learned ones)
2) Caleb will write on the lines with correct spacing so it can be read
3) Caleb will control his body ( a BIG one, he has no concept of personal space!)
4) Caleb will rotate chores and learn to properly do them
5)Caleb will raise his reading and comprehension level by practicing reading at least 20 minutes each day.

1) Caitlin will learn at least 5 new words per week (see above)
2) Caitlin will write on the lines with correct spacing so it can be read
3) Caitlin will sit quietly when doing schoolwork (constant chatter, kind of like Caleb's lack of concept of personal space)
4) Caitlin will rotate chores without complaint and learn to do them properly
5) Caitlin will raise her reading and comprehension levels by practicing reading at least 20 minutes each day.

1) James will learn to write paragraphs with correct punctuation and grammar.
2) James will work on his handwriting skills and improve them.
3) James will stay on task and complete things in a timely manner.
4) James will rotate chores without complaint and learn to do them properly.
5) James will raise his reading and comprehension levels by reading at least 20 minutes each day.

Pretty simple? Yes, but it lets me know what is the most important thing to be working on at a particular time. Goals change, quite often in fact, but this it what we are starting on. I think about what we are having problems with both academically and family wise (see #4 lol) and go from there.
Right now we are having a lot of issues with calling names, shirking chores and not doing things correctly the first time they are asked. In my opinion, learning to do chores is just as important as learning to read. Who will hire someone that will not do what they need to get done? No one! A big rule around here is if you chose not to do things at home, why should I believe that you will so the same thing elsewhere. I.E. if you can't behave at home, why should I think that you will behave in public. Or if you can't manage your assigned chores, why should you be allowed to mow lawns for money, or help clean at someone else's house for money.

I'd love to hear input on what people think of our plan for school and our goals.


You ever get so frustrated with someone who's supposed to be a friend? Ever have a "friend" who's completely clueless as to how to behave, either in public or in the privacy of you or their own home? Or maybe a fellow mom who has absolutely NO clue as to what to do/how to do it with her kid and calls all the time about how overwhelmed/stressed/ready to scream/ready to spaz that she is with her 1 child, whereas you are just fine with your 4 - plus extra kids some days!
Can you see where this post is going? Yeah, I have a "friend" like that. A "friend" that's driving me nuts. A "friend" that calls when she needs things, or a ride, or a sitter, but never returns my calls to hang out, or go to the park together with our kids, or any little things I might think to invite her to do. She does gladly come over for dinner, as they are usually short of money/groceries. She is more than happy to leave her kid with us, as she says it's "a safe place where he's always taken care of" and "he's treated like one of your own".

Don't get me wrong, I love the kid dearly, and I do treat him as one of my own. I've had him for weekends and overnights since he was born, and even for a week or more at a time when they were both working. That's not the problem, the problem here is, it's almost like I'm jealous that she can act the way she does with no consequences. It's like I'm jealous of her lack of parenting skills and lack of parenting period. Being jealous is new to me. I mean I've been jealous before, who hasn't, but not over stupid things like this. I actually envy her ability to just drop her kid with someone and trust that he'll be fine and taken care of whether she's there or not. Her ability to sleep all day if she wants to, and not worry about whether or not her kid is wreaking havoc on his room when he's in there supposed to be taking a nap or sleeping, or her room while she's sleeping.

Is it wrong of me? Probably. Am I also glad that she trusts me that much with her kid? Hell yes! I take great pride in the fact that my kids have NEVER had to worry about being fed, clothed, or left with someone just because I wanted ME time. The only time any of my kids have ever ever spent the night away from me, much less a weekend, was when I was in the hospital having a baby. Or on the rare occasions when we had them stay at grandma's for a night for our anniversary. Even when I had to work 3rd shift, they still had dad home, and I called to check on them while at work.

Honestly, I'm not sure if I'm mad that she's lacking in parenting skills, or mad that she gets to do what she wants and I don't.

Hubby is getting frustrated because they don't keep him on a decent sleep schedule, or feed him decent food (they mostly do microwave stuff and junk food). With him not being on a regular sleep schedule, he tends to not want to sleep at bedtime, and tries to take naps at weird times. He also has started throwing tantrums when he doesn't get his way, which we also feel is due to the level of supervision (or lack thereof) at home, and the fact that he can basically do what he wants. We don't mind keeping him for weekends, but what we mind is him screaming and throwing fits at bedtime, and climbing out of the playpen and getting into things like he does at home.

Add to that the fact that Gabe is really not handling him being over well, and that Gabe acts out more and tantrums when he's over, and you can see what some of the problems are. I'm just so frustrated and annoyed right now, and am feeling so used. I just feel like all she wants me around for is to watch her kid and drive her places. I'm sure some of that is also due to me feeling quite overwhelmed as of late with Gabe and homeschooling him in particular. And all the frustration with not being able to find a place to move, and the economy and all that. But that's another post for another day.

Now, I need to go get some kids ready for bed and then finish picking up the house before I go to bed.