Ants, ants, everywhere

Spring is here, and with it all the lovely aspects of warm weather! And by “aspects” I mean insects. We’ve had a mild ant problem in the girls’ bedroom. There’s one particular window where ants seem to like to come in. I’m a little concerned that they’re carpenter ants and have a nest somewhere in the walls, so I put out traps that are supposed to work for carpenter ants.

The problem is that Charlotte is terrified of ants. And by terrified I mean practically phobic, hysterical screaming, may make herself throw up with terror. This is less than a fun way to welcome a lovely season. I try to kill any that I see when I’m trying to get her to go to sleep, and breathe a sigh of relief that her bed is on the opposite side of the bedroom and so she’s unlikely to get any in her bed (otherwise she might never sleep again–seriously, these things are like the clown in a Stephen King novel to her). Her bed is also starting to get crowded again. She loves to have so many books and stuffed animals and dolls in there… I’m looking forward to getting settled in our new house and getting a second bunkbed, so we can put her on the bottom of one and give her some room to spread out. It’ll be a huge relief. I keep hearing things fall off the bed in the middle of the night.

Still trying to pack the house. Or, all the stuff in it, really. Did you catch that I said ALL the stuff? Packing is a pain in the butt. There are so many odds and ends, things that don’t quite fit into boxes, things that go together that you’d like to pack together only they don’t fit in the same box, and things that you need until the last minute so you can’t pack them now, so that you’re constantly making decisions. I sometimes feel like, “Just throw everything into a box and be done with it,” except that you CAN’T! The boxes have to be full and the weight has to be supported, which means that you can’t just throw things in boxes, you actually have to look for the right stuff so that it all fits together. Ack.

Last Wednesday while the girls were at their Wednesday morning program (I know, their Wed. morning program is on Wednesdays, how shocking), I managed to clean their room, then drag all of their clothing bins out of the closet so I could get everything all sorted and packed. And then I promptly ran out of time and left bins all over their rooms. Smart penguin, ha, because now they’ve been getting into the bins and everything is all helter-skelter… so tomorrow is Wednesday again (or, rather, today is, because I NEED TO GO TO BED but also want to stay up late writing this blog), and hopefully tomorrow I will get all the bins properly sorted, labeled, taped shut, and back in the closet. Because I’m sick of tripping over them and also starting to get suspicious that the girls are arranging them into walls for “houses” and that I will find secret hordes of dolls and tea sets when I move the bins.

On the homeschool front, we have finished Ireland and we’re on to Scandinavia! Emily told me today, befuddled, “Ireland is Ireland and it’s a separate country from the United Kingdom! But Scotland is part of the United Kingdom! Isn’t that weird?” So she has sort of learned something, at least, on a 6-year-old level. I’m also busy being obsessed with making plans for next year, when we start Sonlight’s “Core B: Introduction to World History, Part 1.” I’ve found a bunch of books on ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, and China to add, hoping to make it last at least a full year (since we do year-round) or maybe even 18 months. I have some readers for Emily, so I’ll make her a little schedule of when her reading is due, I think she’ll get a kick out of that. I might even have her reread the pertinent Magic Tree House books when we get to those subjects, as I think she’d enjoy that. She already asked me if there will be Magic Tree House books at our new library after our move. Oh, and I need to remember to warn my husband that she’s going to be asking for a tree house. Hopefully not a magic one.

Little House of Boxes

Our house has become a mass of boxes (even more so than it was before, because we never fully unpacked, knowing we’d be here for a limited amount of time). I’ve been really trying to get as much packing done as possible, since I don’t know how much time we’ll have left. We took two giant boxes to Goodwill on Sunday. Nice to get stuff out of the house.

I feel like I’m now living in a perpetual to-do list of what to pack next. It’s so hard, too, not knowing what to prioritize, given that I haven’t known how long we’d be here. Seth is already officially working at his new location, but he went there to check in and then took two weeks of leave to get some more work done out here. He has one more week, but then he has to get back to work in our new location, and we tentatively thought about the girls and I going with him and staying at his parents (which is not right where he’ll be working, but closer than here). However, I think we’re going to stick with our original plan for now, which was for the girls and I to stay here until we have a house to move into.

We put an offer on a house, but it has another offer on it. We’ll find out in a few days which offer they’ll accept. Really hoping it’s ours! This house would be really ideal.

We didn’t really get much school done on Friday or Monday, because I was busy trying to get packing done, thinking we were moving in a week. Since it looks like we’ll probably end up staying a few more weeks at least, I’ll try to get school in tomorrow. We’ve got all these books on Wales, Scotland, and Ireland stacking up, and we haven’t even finished England yet. So we’ll need to “go to.” We’re also hoping to make a few fun trips in the next week if we can, to the Creation Museum and to a wildlife park. I’ll let you know how those go. If I don’t post again, you can assume we were eaten by wild giraffes.

Wrapping up England

We’ve been doing some of the books for England out of order a bit, but I think we’re finally at the point of having just a day or two left. We have one mini science experiment (fairly simple, balancing a marble on an index card on a glass and sliding the card out to watch the marble drop, learning about Newton, since he was English), a couple of stories about John Wesley, and, well, all but one chapter of Paddington Bear. I think we might read another chapter or two and then continue the book as a bedtime story, if the girls are interested. Since we’ve gotten better about getting devotions done every night, the bedtime story has fallen by the wayside, so maybe I can try to revive it.

I’m trying to really buckle down and get some serious packing done for our move. The hardest part to figure out is our bedroom. Since Megan sleeps in there, I can’t really work on it during her naps or when she’s down for the night without waking her. I contemplated putting her to bed in the playroom this evening, then moving her back up to our bedroom after her first feeding, but I just don’t want to deal with disassembling and reassembling the pack and play. I think what I might do is to pull anything I can out of the bedroom that can be easily transported elsewhere to be packed up. Then just finishing the last stuff when she’s awake. I’ll have to see how well that works. If I just plan on doing it in small bits, it might possibly work out okay. In general, though, I think I’ll focus tomorrow on getting anything done that I can pull from that bedroom, and then also work on packing up the homeschool stuff. Might be a short school day tomorrow!

I did make a box store for the girls this evening. A while ago we had a large delivery from Amazon (diapers and stuff) that came in a giant box, and I’d been meaning to make a box store like the one here: http://childhood101.com/2009/12/diy-kids-ice-cream-shop/ Ours will definitely not be nearly so cool, as I didn’t have the time and don’t have the special colored tape and such. But hopefully the kids will at least find it mildly entertaining for a few days. Might as well let them enjoy the box until I have to break it up for the move (not attempting to transport a giant empty box, even flattened). Maybe once we’re settled in our next place, I’ll try to time a couple diaper deliveries to come from Amazon together again, so we can get another giant box. 🙂 Or we could, like, order a fridge. For the box, you know.

United Kingdom!

I haven’t updated for a while, I know. Honestly, I just keep forgetting. Sorry!

We’re up to the United Kingdom on our little tour of the world geography program this year. We’re finishing up England, and we’ll look at Scotland and Wales, then move on to Ireland. After that, it’s Scandinavia and then Western Europe.

I’ve found a good system for getting library books in good time. I have a Google Calender reminder set every Wednesday to put books on hold, and which week of books to put on hold. So each time I get a new reminder, I put a set on hold. It’s enough in advance that I can wait until they pretty much all arrive, then pick them up at once. It helps that I have a teacher’s account on my library card, so I can check the books out for a longer period, and don’t have to worry about turning them in too soon.

We’re reading about William Tyndale, and coincidentally, my friend Jenny (my little Jenny is named after her) just gave Emily the book “The Queen’s Smuggler,” one of the Trailblazers series that is about William Tyndale. I’m not sure if her reading is at the level of the Trailblazers books yet, so I guess we’ll see! Right now, Emily is really into the Imagination Station books and the Three Cousins Detective books, and is also reading some Magic Tree House books. I got a selection of mysteries (her favorites) that looked about the right level from the library (the A to Z mysteries, etc.), to see if she was interested in any of those. She loves to read and goes through books so fast! We gave her the latest Imagination Station book for Easter on Sunday and she finished it this morning.

I also found some fun books for Jenny at the library today where the parent reads the left-hand side of the page and the child reads the right. I don’t remember the series name, but they have titles like “Pirate Pat” and “Miss Moss.” She wanted to start with “Miss Moss,” so we read that one this afternoon. And, of course, Charlotte is still all about the “That’s Not My…” series by Usborne. She did branch out a bit today and get “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?” today. She spent about half a hour pointing to the animals and saying, “Red bird?” “Yes.” “Green horse?” “No, that’s a blue horse.” “Blue duck?” “No, that’s a yellow duck.” Red appears to be the only color that she’s reliable on. 🙂 We’ll get there.

Megan is 5 months old! It’s amazing how fast they grow. I’ve been trying to really enjoy these baby days, in case Megan ends up being our last. I’m already a bit sad how quickly the newborn stage is over and how it’s almost hard to remember how small she was. I wish I was better at taking pictures. I just never think of it!

I’m starting my planning for next year now. We’ll be doing Sonlight’s Core B once we finish our geography program, which I’m guessing will be around September, but it will depend on how much time we lose with moving and getting settled in our new place. I do tend to find that the kids behave better when we get at least a little school done each day, though, so hopefully we won’t miss too much. We don’t follow the school year, as we school year-round and just start the next thing when we’re ready for it (for instance, Emily is doing Singapore Math 1, which is split into 1A and 1B… but we’ll just switch to 1B whenever she finishes it, regardless of time of year, and when she finishes 1B we’ll switch to 2A, also regardless of time of year). But there’s a bit more planning involved with doing a Sonlight core, so I’ll probably order it a bit in advance of when we need it so that I can preread and prepare stuff, etc. I’m hoping to add some additional books to some of the major cultures that we’ll be studying: Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, and China. I got some ideas for books for Egypt, Greece, and Rome from Veritas Press, and I’m hoping to see if any are at the library when we arrive at our new place, so that I can get an idea of whether they’re worth adding to the core. India and China are a bit harder. I have some interesting readers planned, but I might see what else I can find as well. I don’t really mind if the core takes a bit extra time to get through, as we have the summer to school, and it wouldn’t hurt for Emily to be a bit older before getting to some of the cores. At the same time, I also don’t want to stay on a civilization until we’re bored to death of it. So it’ll be a bit of a balancing act. I got some kits that are from Hands and Hearts and have what look like fun, interesting activities to go along with some of the cultures, so I’m hoping that will make it a bit more hands-on and fun for a 6- or 7-year-old and a 5-year-old who is tagging along (because of course she’ll want to do the crafts).

I’m really excited about starting Core B! While I’m enjoying doing our geography curriculum, I will look forward to be doing a real Sonlight core again, and having the core chat and everything. And a new set of readers for Emily!