Friday, September 30, 2011

Frontier Culture Museum-part 2 (yes, I'm working backward)

So we've started homeschooling Cole this year. It's been something that I've been thinking about for quite some time, but nothing really materialized until the end of 2nd grade. I wasn't quite sure how Geof. would handle the whole "home-school" idea, so I didn't bring it up much during the summer, and then the whole choice became concrete out of no where..I mean, a few days before public school started. And Geof. seemed okay with it because he knew I was open to the idea of putting him back in after a semester if it didn't work out.

And since 2nd grade was NOT the best year for Cole, we decided to give it a try!

And I'd be lying if I said that it's been the most joyful, wonderful, easy peasy, "isn't this so fun?!" thing I've ever done. Because it's not. It's been difficult....but also great. Good days and bad, and mostly just trying to figure it out and hoping you're doing it right and your kid is learning (although I DO know he's learning a lot..I just want it to be more fun than it's been. I mean, can't learning be fun?!).

Today was one of those, "I love being a home school mom" moments. I figure that if we can feel good about what we've accomplished school-wise during the week, then Friday is a good day to take off and play. So we picked up another homeschooling child in our ward, Emily, and took off to the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, VA. Staunton is the cutest little town (in my opinion).

And the museum was so great! I've learned when I lower my expectations, I most often am very happy with the result. I've done this more and more, actually (is that bad?), and been so pleased.

Since this is PART 2, I won't fill you in on our first half of the day. But to end our day, we visited an English Farm from the 1600s (the actual home was brought over from England!), a 1700s Irish Farm, and an Irish Forge (you know, where craftsmen make things out of iron).

This museum was ALL HANDS ON, which is a dream for Cole. Not once did I have to get on him for touching something he shouldn't, climbing somewhere he's not supposed to, or playing with something that's breakable.

It was wonderful. Just what moms need. Cole was so intrigued by it all. Here's a list of the things we did:

*wool carding
*spinning on a walking wheel
*open hearth cooking
*washing dishes (we didn't get to this.., but saw other kids doing it!)
*grounded oats to make oat flour
*made oat cakes
*watched someone weave linen
*helped make Sauerkraut
*grated some real cheese made right there on the farm.

It was so fun. And the workers were very kind and patient. I wished we could have stayed for tomorrow's Oktoberfest party! Oh, how fun would that have been!

And Emily was the perfect companion to Cole. She has a bunch of brothers so she understood Cole's need to be physical (even though I made sure he didn't try and wrestle her or push her..why does he always HAVE TO DO THAT?) She also didn't seem to
mind the fact that a lot of what we did was catered to Cole. And best of all, she kept the energy level down a few notches which in turn kept me sane. :))

A few explanations from the pics: A huge, most certainly poisonous spider, a Crown of Thorns (a reminder of Christ, burned once a year and ashes scattered on crops as a sign of "good luck"...interesting), a cute Austrian man wearing a frilly frock, Cole and Emily's cute "race"..just a few fun moments to think about.

And I almost forgot to mention how BEAUTIFUL this museum was. Obviously, it was spread out and we walked a lot and it really felt like you were in that time period. Long grass and wild flowers everywhere, a nice breeze.., very picturesque. So pretty.

And then coming home and finding June asleep on a mini-ottoman. This girl falls asleep in the funniest positions!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

a post!

Here we are! After a busy (and fun!) summer moving in to our home, painting it, dealing with high temps and humidity and NO A/C, playing in Utah/WA/Oregon for a month (with out Geof.)..and now we're back and school has started and the house is much the same as it was when I left. We had an earthquake and hurricane the week before school started. How's that for big news? An earthquake in Richmond, VA? I had no idea what was happening. First, I went in the laundry room to check on the obvious imbalance of the washer..nope. And then I looked outside and didn't really notice anything out of sorts. But then I realized we were probably experiencing an earthquake. I looked over at Dayne who was loading dishes from the dishwasher into the cupboards and said, " might want to back away from there. Why don't we all head to the bathroom?" And no, we didn't rush because I still wasn't quite sure if it was really an earthquake we were experiencing. We got in the bathroom and were about to get in the tub (that IS what you do during a quake, right?) and it stopped. Phew. Pretty fun, though!
And then we had hurricane warnings and a few days to prepare for it. That's nice. Filled up the 50 or so 1 gallon water bottles someone in the ward gave us. Did my laundry. Bought some food. And then waited. And yes, the power did go out. Trees fell. But mostly, it was just a drizzly, rainy day. We've had worse (in my opinion). But apparently, this was worse than I thought. The next day when we went out (church was cancelled), we saw the real damage. Lots of trees fell down..on people's homes. We were fortunate. Debris in the yard, but nothing else. Geof. was wishing a tree would fall on our van so we could replace the AC. He also wanted it to fall on our broken Air Conditioning unit so that could be replaced, as well. Yes, both our van and home do not have central air. Getting that installed soon. (!!)
So.., we weren't even sure if school was going to start on the scheduled day. The power was out in many places for a week. We only had it out for 2 1/2 days, thankfully. Our poor elderly neighbors behind us had a generator running for 7 days and I only got around to bringing them some food the day they got their power back on. Yes. I'm lame.
School did begin on time but we weren't prepared. I only sent Dayne to school so it was weird only having the one to think about and not feeling done with summer. We didn't do anything. Just today, I finally went out and bought her school supplies. Cole is home schooling and we're doing well. He seems to be happy doing it. We went to Dayne's back to school orientation and there were all sorts of kids running around and I asked Cole if he wanted to go to school and it was a quick and easy reply, "nope.". So here we are. I stressed a bit the first week because, who wouldn't? I signed June up for 3 mornings a week preschool with 4 other kids from our ward. I wasn't initially planning on that, but thought it'd be good for her to be doing something since at this point Cole has no self motivation to do school. He needs me there right next to him. I've talked to other home-school moms and they told me this is very normal at the beginning.
And I don't mind. At this point. I do make HIM re-read instructions because that tends to be where the problem lies with his schoolwork. Laziness. That was MY problem in school, at least. Anyway, on the day of the hurricane.., when the power went out, I got to work and started putting pictures on my wall. Oh dang. I forgot to take a picture of my "family" wall. I would love to have it cover the whole wall with everyone I love and care about. I'll get to that..someday. I haven't done much with the bedrooms or bathrooms. I'd like a rug in the front room to protect that beautiful hardwood floor. I'd also like a big GIANT map on the wall between the piano and the desk. I don't know what I'm doing with the fireplace. Meaning, what do we do in the winter? I don't want to use it, but I gotta cover it with something, ya know? And the book case (yellow) is just crazy. Overdone. But I do like the little spot I set up for the kids to read their library books (on the floor by that back door that we don't use?)..but not one of them has taken me up on it. The dining room needs some cute chairs or benches and a new chandelier..but that takes time and thinking and I don't have that right now. So I'll do one thing at a time. I have a big mirror that I'm painting and hanging on the big entry way wall (coral) and I need to replace the glass in the pic of Christ you see as you walk in the front door. And really, who's still reading this post..?!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Old Rag with Dad

For Labor Day, Geof. took Cole on an 8 mile hike up to Old Rag . Cole's such a little stud. He's a mountain goat, says Geof. Scampered over all the rocks and passed many people on the trail, constantly shouting, "This is so awesome!". I think we know where Cole is in his element. And we love that about him. This boy was meant to be much as possible. And so happy to have some alone time with Daddy.

I know this blog has been majorly neglected. I'm so behind I couldn't even catch up if I tried. I'll try and keep it updated more often.

Geof. just told me that the hat Cole's wearing is the same hat he wore at 16 when he hiked around Mt. Rainier. Nice.