Sunday, September 30, 2007

Essie's got the Giggles

Saturday night while trying to eat dinner, Essie got a major case of the giggles. The way she said it was that "da laughin was stuck in my head!" And after all she had a captive audience! All the big brothers and sisters cracking up on her left, and two giggling babies in their highchairs on her right. I don't know why this turned out so blurry but...blurry or not, this will put a little sunshine in your rainy day!

I did the Meyers Briggs personality types this week on all the big kids. There's a really great website that shows all the main kids' "types" and goes into some detail on their different learning styles--which I've found quite helpful. Essie was finally old enough to take hers and...wouldn't you know she's just the same as Mommy!? aaaaah ha hahahahahhahaha......haaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa..........

Friday, September 28, 2007

SHOWDOWN: Silas Kirkman vs. his HEELYS...

Yes, this is what I do in ALL my spare time.

This one is kinda random, but I thought it might go well with the music...

My Teacher Strike didn't really pan out...
Okay so in the end (thursday) I didn't have the heart to actually go on strike like the teachers on the news. Wednesday had gone really well. We started to finally hit our groove, Eli had some really fun lightbulb moments in phonics and couldn't bear to tear himself away, I was too anxious to read the rest of the Crusades, and then there was that grinning euphoric prayer that poured sweetly from Silas' lips at the lunch table...
"...and God, please help Mom never ever ever to stop doin phonics...."

I guess I discovered another angle and advantage to homeschooling that I hadn't considered. When it is your own little ones under your charge, you don't have to worry about things like teacher strikes. I guess that is also why it is so sanctifying for the one who at times may feel the temptation! Mom and Dad have to learn to agree on and surrender up to the Lord things like budget, overcrowding-- and the number of "students" Mom thinks she can handle. I think it's rather tragic that the school system has to use the actual students as leverage in the struggle to get things to where they feel it needs to be. What in the world is it going to take to get there when there are now thirty some different families represented within just one classroom of kids with 30 different belief systems, religions, circumstances, budgets, learning levels, teaching abilities, etc...

Thankfully I don't have the (I will call it luxury) of going on strike. I love my students. They are my beloved children that I will continue to lay down my own life for. When I doubt and become overwhelmed with my own academic inabilities, my time constraints, and I feel ready to throw in the towel...there is one thing I am very confident in- I love my children. God has given them to my husband and I, and has promised He doesn't give us what we cannot bear. He will also ultimately hold us responsible. Not the teachers who do need to make a living for their own families. Quite possibly they need to be on strike. I don't really know. I just know I wouldn't want my own kids being at the mercy of the whole issue.

Yesterday while entreating the kids to do better in the area of seeing a need and just doing it without being asked, I explained that our family is like a great big ship sailing out alone in the deep. Daddy is the Captain, they are the crew and I am...well I am just about everything else! I said "We need all hands on deck because we are all sailing together towards God's glory in the same ship! Nobody else is responsible for our ship but us!" They are familiar with the danger to the whole ship if just one deck hand shirks his responsibility.

This idea may seem frightful to some until you consider that we serve the Master of the wind and waves. Daddy may be standing at the wheel, and Mommy may be barking out orders, but the Lord directs the course of the ship. All we need to do is be ready with the sails when that great big glorious gust comes and lifts us up, up and away! Amen to that eh Mommies?

But anyway, onto lighter things and what I like to call...


My kids are really intrigued with homophones right now--even down to four year old Essie. And I mean intrigued! They can't speak or listen to the english language right now without being absolutely distracted with the whole idea. We had a great moment while in California...

Essie had apparently had "too much vacation" and thought she would pull what is typical lunchtime behavior with many four year olds but which does not fly in our home.

She was unhappy with tuna fish sandwiches for lunch again and was having an ungrateful heart. Silas (who often does tend to forget that he is not in fact the Holy Spirit) belts out
"Ethie! You should be thankful for your lunch and should not be havin a fit! ...and by the way...'fit', is a homophone."

Essie's eyes light up and the ungrateful heart is gone in a flash.
"Hey yeah Si! 'Fit' like...somesing fits through a teeny tiny leetle hole... and 'fit' like 'waaahaaa....wahhhaaaaaa....waaaaaaaaaahaaaaa."

And then there was yesterday when we were reading in the "Reconquest of Spain" about a young Muslim king and his tutor. Silas was unsure of the meaning of "tutor" and requested the definition. I said "A tutor is a teacher. More specifically your own private specialized teacher." Silas lit up at this and replied (with smirk of all smirks)
"Well then, Mom... (smirk) sure are a homophone today because you are a Tutor...and you suuuuure are a TOOTER!"

The meaning of this was obvious since my darling boy was plugging his nose as he delivered the punch line.

See what I would've missed if I had gone on that strike?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Teachers Strike

So after another pretty harrowing back to school day today I flipped on King 5 news and got the bestest idea from all the teachers. I'm going on strike! I totally know what they're saying. It's overcrowded, there's not enough help or budget per child.....and heck, tantrums don't have to be only for the two year olds! But don't worry, it's only for this thursday. Hey, anyone know what the forecast is for thursday? I'm thinking about going to the beach.(Shout out to Owen for helping me hold the sign.)
In case you can't read it, it says "I want more sleep n' stuff."

Sorry kids. Guess you'll have to make it up in June.

On a less sarcastic note:

Yesterday I glanced out the window at the most perfect scene. A few weeks ago I wrote a post titled Fear of man: The great Life Sucker. Anyway, you might want to read it to grasp the full beauty of the following picture but in short, it drew a parallel between the wayward branches "suckers" on my apple trees that were sucking energy from the tree, and the various things in our lives that do the same. One of the suckers I've pinpointed in my life is the general "Fear of Man"; that persistent struggle of desiring to be understood, not despised, etc. (I must say it's a relatively good read if it strikes a chord.)

So anyway yesterday (our first day of school) while reading about the Crusades to the kids and with high hopes of accomplishing that elusive "successful day" (in which I put little red Xs in all the little black boxes I've drawn next to all the many things I want to accomplish), I look over at Silas who is've got to be kidding....back in his pajamas? I could've sworn I had him get fully groomed and dressed! Yes! Yes I did!

"Silas! Why are you back in your pajamas!?!?!"

"Because thliding down the sssthtairs is way fassthter and funner in my pajamas!"

I began to add "But Siiiilas, you're supposed to be dressed for the day! My mother's gonna get here and think I never dress you children" when I actually heard her knock at the door.

Now, of course, my dear beautiful mom is absolutely the last person who would judge me for something so trivial, but well, when a homeschool mom puts in all that time to plan lessons, get organized, buy fresh supplies, all gearing up for a smooth and fun first day of school, (all boxes checked!), she doesn't usually imagine her six year old stilll slothing around in his pajamas at 11:30 when Gramma arrives.

So leave it to Silas to rip those suckers limb from limb!
This photo just seems symbolic of so many things. Silas perched there in the top of the apple tree hanging on (and probably cracking) the sucker branches that I still had never tended to...big grin on his face...trying to get his hands on the juicy apples and STILL in his jammies. God using Silas, my sanctification kid...and managing to position him smack in the middle of my own analogy. Too perfect and too cute. Add to all that the fact that little now 2 yr. old Owen who as of this week has given me quite the run for my money in the race with Silas for the most stubborn kid award, had also escaped my notice and followed his big brother out in his diaper...looking sneakily towards the house to see if Mom is watching all this great action...

God has such a great sense of humor. I love it. I am way too hard on myself. Our first two days of school actually went beautifully if I measure it by God's standards instead of all the many other homeschool books on my shelves, authors and families I admire. Again, all good stuff, but if God wanted me to be doing everything exactly like them...then it would eliminate the need to listen intently for His voice and His leading. FAITH wouldn't be necessary if I had all the answers, tools, motivation, strength, etc...

...And without faith, it is impossible to please God...

Hebrews 11:6

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More Road Trip Photos...

This was Juliet while helping me pack (well...she was actually terrorizing and unpacking all my hard work...but isn't she cute?)

ON THE ROAD! ~Denny's in our PJs!
A road trip just isn't a road trip to our kids without stopping in the morning at Denny's after driving through the night. And folks, if you're not aware of this, the right way to do this is to wear your jammies in, order hot cocoa with whip cream...and then...drink it through a straw.
This is a brand new (but very yummy) tradition for BABY GANG. I can't believe we have three more kids since our last trip!
Clearlake in Nice, California

I love those little silhouettes

Friends we made...We were befriended by another large family also on vacation. They have eight kids ages 14 and up! Apparently the older boys just recently finished building the Mom her dream house. Now that...I like! Below are the lovely 16 year old twins Victoria and Veronica who were so much fun. What a rarity these days to meet teenagers who just love playing with little ones on their vacation. What a timely encouragement for this Mommy to get a glimpse of the future and see families who love families! The teenage boys taught our boys some football tricks and the girls played baseball. They couldn't get enough of throwing little Kirkman people in the pool, bought them icecream cups and sent us off with yarn to crochet with, posters to color, and the conviction that teenagers are really nice! What a refreshing joy and blessing to kick off our school year with. Thanks Williams Family! We love ya! Gemma and Hannah just can't stop talking about "Vic and Ver".

Lookout Hannah...she looks dangerous!Silas!!! Her father's gonna ring your little NECK!Kirkman kids got schooled.

AND...HUNTINGTON BEACH HERE WE COME! Cheese... Mom? I know you love takin pictures of me an all...but I was just wondering...
Mother! A kid's gotta EAT! Put the camera down! (She really does say "cheese" for the camera though!)

Little chubby Owen feet

Owen didn't know HOW IN THE WORLD Gramma got way over there to Anaheim...but he let her know he was VERRRRRRY HAPPY ABOUT IT!Owen gets a Physics LessonBig things don't fit through littler spaces. See now he could've learned that in school at some point...but I think he'll remember this better...

Coming soon on To Train up a Mother...

More Vacation photos and The battle between Silas Kirkman and his new birthday Heelies from Gramma Terry. You won't want to miss this folks! For all his charisma, this kid just can't hack the heelies. And I fear he may die trying.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

We made it!!!

Only a little worse for wear! This is Brian and I on the second or third night riding the shuttle home from Disneyland. For those of you who are always asking how we do it? Again I say, have a sense of humor. self.This is a rare photo of the whole group! Gramma Carolann flew down and met us for three Disney days! (Thanks again Gramma! Have you recovered?)
Here she is with the kids getting ready for the 3-D "A Bug's Life" show!
Mom and I had some good laughs taking pictures of me post Disney.I think this was after Day #3. Uh buh buh buh....Oh the tragedy of this picture. Poor Daddy forked out money for all these hat souveniers. Anyone wanna take a gamble at how many of them actually made it home as souvenirs? Come on--test your knowledge of the Kirkman kids and leave a many hats made it home?

Here is my sweet Owen on his 2nd birthday. And what a birthday it was!

Mommy and Owen riding Dumbo--weeee!
Icecream from Gramma!
Brian was holding Juliet and she was looking down at me (and my icecream) soooo longingly... Soooo.....
We gave her just a little taste.


One highlight of the trip was when the three big kids got randomly selected for Jedi Training. It was great and all until all hell broke loose and all the forces of the Dark side invaded. My little Jedi babies had to fight! I thought poor ole Gramma was gonna have a heart attack! But the kids made me proud.

Etched in my memory forever is the image of Hannah's face when Darth Vader rose up out of the ground on his terrifying platform, smoke billowing everywhere and his voice over the loud speakers. Of course the JEDI trainers were all in a panic and needing the youngsters help--and the looks on those kids faces... After the initial shock, I watched Hannah as that smile spread slowly and surely across her little countenance. The panic attack she had experienced while climbing the ascent to Splash mountain the day before was nowhere to be found!

Darth Vader had a fight on his hands boy!

And let me tell was freaky stuff.

My kids have only seen the old Star Wars and we realized (when Silas started emulating Jabba) that we needed to be more careful even with the old movies. So when Darth-what's-his-face jumped out from behind Darth Vader in his plume of smoke...they definitely did a double take and had to remind themselves there was some silly guy in a suit.

In fact, they fought so bravely that the bad guys tried to actually recruit them to the dark side. But they all stood firm and earned their JEDI certificates. What a fun memory! I was relieved that they didn't made the kids pledge their allegiance to the force or anything....because little Miss Hannah would've needed clarification and the whole show would've come to a screeching halt. She had already watched Merlin's act with a verrrry skeptical eye. One of the most valuable things about keeping my little lambs at home is how much they all love each other. I rarely make them pose. They are always stuck together like glue and keeping me running for my camera...
Bosom Friends Reunite!
Heidi was Diana (and now she has the hair!) and I was of course...the ruffian Anne Shirley. Amazing with bosom friends how you can pick up right where you left off--even after two or three decades! We were best buds back in junior high and have managed to get back in touch over email the last couple years. So I couldn't go to L.A. without seeing Heidi!Bosom friend meets my bosom babies!As of December 2006 Heidi Logsdon is now Heidi Robb! I was sad to have to miss her beautiful wedding to her wonderful husband Dan. At the time I didn't think it was wise to fly that close to my due date. Hmmmmm......Now wouldn't that have been somethin!This is Heidi and Hannah on Autopia riiiiight before Essie rear ended them. There's a REASON four year olds don't get to drive! I saw them coming whipping around the corner, Gemma with the pedal to the medal...Essie workin the steering wheel...and neither one of them watching the road!!!

"Ooooops... Sorry Hannah! My bad!"

And the only thing scarier than riding with a four year old riding with a two year old driver!!!!

I think this was the highlight of Owen's life because nothing is more fun than a steering wheel...and making Momma screeech!

Whoa--I'm really doin it!!!

Owen at the Wheel!!!

But the happiest place on earth is still just right next to my man...

Thankyou my dear husband for your hard work and incredible generosity.

Outta time--all for now!