Monday, January 12, 2009

Snow Day

Schools were closed all around us today. Our school was not.

Thomas and I spent a good portion of the morning listening to Don't Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History But Never Learned by Kenneth C. Davis. We are really enjoying this. We did not download this to the Zen, rather we're just listening through our Audible manager. What's really fun is Thomas will ask me a question, we'll stop the audio and discuss. Sometimes I Google something that we're listening to. For instance, today the audiobook was discussing the Freemasons and symbols. (Interesting, as there was just a thread about that at TWTM boards.) I Googled that so Thomas could see the symbols.

We really enjoy doing history this way. We don't test, we don't do much but listen and discuss. I often assign extra reading, but that is changing as Thomas ages. He's too big for "little kid books" and not fast enough of a reader to read a lot of extra "big kid books."

I have him reading all our Cornerstone of Freedom books as we touch each subject area, but he has proclaimed them little kid books. They are. Mom's just holding to that little kid thing. What used to take him an hour, now takes him five minutes. I can't believe he's growing up so fast.

We did our math today. We touched on fractions, yet again, and I acted as a drill sergeant. I'm trying to teach him to not lose focus and to work more quickly. We did two easy worksheets with lots of problems, and as soon as he finished writing the answer, I barked out the next problem. I explained what I was doing and why, to teach him to pace himself. It worked well. I think we'll do an easy worksheet with lots of problems to help him learn to pace every day for awhile, in addition to our regularly schedule program.

The morning was beautiful, with tons of big, white, fluffy flakes floating through the air. After lunch, the wind picked up. As we were working on Analytical Grammar, which we are still really loving, we had periods of white out. It was nice to be sheltered while looking out at the cold, gray, snowy day.

Later in the afternoon I made a big bowl of popcorn and hot chocolate. Not the best combination, but we enjoyed it.

Thomas didn't mind not taking a snow day. We usually follow what the area schools do, but we have too much to do.

Thomas made a cheesy-chicken dish which is in the oven. It's nice to have a hot, comfortable dish on a cold night. It's even better when I don't have to cook it!

It was a good day.

De-lurk Day

Apparently, according to all the blogs I read on a daily basis, it is de-lurk day today.

I don't know if I have ever asked people to de-lurk and say hello before. I will today. I'd love to say hi to some of my lurkers!

Drop me a line!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cleaning Update

Just thought I'd give an update to our cleaning spree. (I know it bores most to tears, but I do go back and read through the blog on occasion, and it's nice to see the reminders.

This past week we started school up again, so the big cleaning came to a halt. I putzed in the kitchen, got the cupboards all organized, but the kitchen remained messy because it was the landing spot for stuff.

Saturday Bob, Thomas and I loaded up our donations for Salvation Army. They filled the van. Off we went, carrying boxes and bags and stuff to them. I asked the nice lady how the new legislation was going to effect them. She said she had just heard about it on Wednesday, and they were going to operate as always until someone told them differently. I was surprised that I had heard about it a couple weeks ago on various homeschool message boards. I was slightly afraid some of our donations would be turned down. They weren't.

We drove home, and loaded 30 grocery bags overflowing with books. We drove to the library and Bob and I each took two bags in. (They were heavy!) The nice librarian thanked us, and we informed her this was the tip of the iceberg. We filled three of their carts, plus overflowed to the floor. We gave them hundreds of books.

I was glad to learn that they actually go through each book and will keep the good ones for their collection. There are some I bet they do keep! I'm sure they'll be thrilled (not!) to find many of their old books, that I had purchased at their sale, made their way back to them.

We drove to the Animal Shelter and donated one last crate we found.

Today we took down the Christmas decorations. I spent about three hours cleaning the living room, and it wasn't even that dirty. I bought myself a new vacuum cleaner, a Kenmore Progressive Upright with Inteli-clean System It is not a bagless. I will never own a bagless vacuum again! I was very tired of dumping the canister all the time, to be honest. The dust made me sneeze. I wanted something less dirty.

This is by far the best vacuum I have ever owned. (Don't laugh, vacuums are a hobby of mine.) There are green, amber and red lights on the vacuum. Green means clean, and amber and red mean dirty. Wow, I vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed. Took forever to go from red to green. To look at the carpet, you wouldn't think it was that dirty. Apparently it was, as we have filled the bag twice. I think it just does a really good job at getting deep-down. I moved all the furniture, and that room is clean.

I then re-arranged the furniture. I was so happy with the way I placed things. Thomas came into the room and gave me a WOW! It looked really good.

I then went to do laundry and clean the basement. When I came upstairs, what did I find? My husband had taken it upon himself to put the furniture back the way it had been previous to Christmas. I looked at him in utter disbelief. He likes it better this way. I got snappy with him, when I shouldn't have. But darn it all, it made me mad.

Oh well.

I am still not quite done. I have to go through all the tubs that are now empty and decide what to do with them. I have to re-arrange the laundry room, as we did put some more things in there for storage. (Christmas stuff, mostly, and Bob put it there which means, of course, I didn't like where he put it.)

I'd say another two days tweaking things and I'll call 'er good.

What I have learned with all of this is that this was very good for my soul. I think it was a part of my healing process, a major part. Finally, something I can control: making order out of chaos. Not that it was complete chaos, because it wasn't: I was just ready to purge, quit holding on to stuff, and get things really super clean.

I have to pay bills (wow, I'm really late!) and get the taxes started this week. School is pretty well organized, but I do need to spend an hour or two organizing for the rest of the year.

This weekend I should be ready to hunker down and finish scanning the family photos for my siblings.

November and December of last year I was pretty depressed. It was gettng bad. We did school, but for me, it was just going through the motions. I don't remember a whole lot of what went on, I just kept trying to be optomistic and pretending I was okay even though on the inside I was screaming/crying. I bought myself a light box for the seasonal depression that I get every year. I had that, plus grief-depression. Within a week of sitting under that light box, I felt like a new person. It was amazing how fast it worked. I wasn't completely up to par, but I was so much better! I think that light box, plus Bob's offer to help, was what enabled me to have the energy to do the big clean-out.

So what a great start to the new year. I feel better, even though I'm aware that February, my bad month historically, is coming up on me. My house is clean. My laundry is caught up. School is back in session. Mom's taxi-service is operating again, we're going, we're scheduling get-togethers, and we are (I am) coming back to life.

That's a good thing, because I deserve it!

Thank you, Audrey

Audrey, the super-sleuth, figured it out. How smart of her to go to the Truman Online Library (hey, she is a librarian) and search.

I'm about 98% certain it was Harry S Truman. I've studied his picture, tried to brush the cobwebs out of my brain, and really tried to re-live that day. I think I was stuck on Johnson because he was one of my Dad's favorite presidents.

I'm pretty sure it was April of 1972. Cold wind would have been normal for spring in Cheyenne, and I do remember there was no snow.

Thank you, Audrey!

That all reminded me that I had met a couple other governors in my day. I "met" Governor Herschler, of Wyoming, in the lobby of the Little America Hotel (my favorite hotel, and Thomas's too!) in Cheyenne. By met, we walked past each other and he said hello to me. I was a kid.

As a grown-up, I had the great pleasure to meet Governor George Mickelson of South Dakota. We sat and visited for about fifteen minutes, just the two of us. I really admired and respected him. He was killed in a plane crash in the spring of 1993. The day of his funeral, my husband and I were driving to Denver because my mom was going to have an angioplasty. We listened to his funeral on the radio, and I actually cried.

If I could meet any political figure of today, it would be our future president.

Again, thank you, Audrey, for solving something that had been nagging at me for decades!