A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Our Week - With A Farewell

I now have children on 3 continents again.  It's neat to watch the kids grow up and do things, but it's hard having them in 4 time zones.  

I'm super grateful that Eli was able to visit before going overseas.  In these crazy times, that's not a given any more.  

I used one of the pictures from Eli's visit to make a keychain for Miss Adorable on my Cricut.  

One of the unexpected benefits of requesting a bunch of books and having them arrive at different times is that it gives the girls a chance to review topics we've covered earlier.  We've currently got books on the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Brazil.  

Brianna let me take some pictures the other day to update her 8x10 on the wall.  I like this one best, but I am not sure which one she'll pick.  Have to crop out the trash can before ordering.  

Our Canada cake.  Katie and Josiah made the cake and frosted it.  I added the red decorative icing.  My "maple leaf" is a little... special, but it appears to have been edible.  

We've got a temporary reprieve from the smoke, so we were able to have cake outside one evening.  

Miss Adorable snapped a quick family picture for us.  Family pictures are a little sad for me, because there's always people missing.  Missing Zach, Heather, and Brayden.  Missing Annaliese.  Missing Sam.  

I love this picture.  I'm going to miss this boy so much over the next couple of years.  

The foster mews are on medication 4X/day right now.  Hopefully they'll be feeling more photogenic next week.  

The dreaded airport photo.  Fortunately, Eli had a long layover in Seattle, so he was able to see Annaliese while he was there.  

The day after Eli left, we spent some time at the park next to the library, drawing.  

I knew I was emotionally drained and would be cranky in the school room.  It felt good to get out in the sunshine again.  Yeah for flexibility!  

I even brought my colored pencils and a little sketchpad and drew a vague impression of this tree while we were there.  

Hannah's artwork

Katie did two takes.

And while we were there, we picked up more library books, of course.  

We've started learning about Brazil now.  I'm sad that the nearest Brazilian restaurant is closed due to COVID.  It would have been neat to have some authentic take out--especially since Paul will be replacing the kitchen faucet soon, so we may be without a sink for a day.  We do, however, have an Eat 2 Explore box for Brazil, so I'm looking forward to trying that.  

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Our Short Week

I borrowed a pair of Eli's boots for this picture.  

The downside of last week's blog post being almost 2 weeks worth of stuff is that this week I don't have any school pictures to share.  

I put a couple of clean towels on Eli's bed, and Grumman promptly attacked them.  Oh Grumman.  

The foster kittens are an endless source of amusement.

Eli hung out with Bertie while we played a meme game.  

Cleo is Brianna's favorite.  

I learned some new meals with Hello Fresh, which was the goal, but I'm ready to cancel now.  This was the Korean pork bulgogi and lime rice.  

I had *quite* the adventure with Grumman.  Our city does a free drive through pet vaccination clinic twice a year--in fact, Eli and Miss Adorable have volunteered at it in years past.  

Grumman was due for a rabies shot, so I thought we'd give it a try and skip the $170 vet bill this year.  

I asked for a helper, but no one wanted to come with me.  [insert foreboding music here]  

I put Grumman's harness on him, took him out in the back yard to munch on a weed or two before bringing him in to stuff him in The Box.  I'm still sporting a scratch from that.  He starts howling and thrashing, as soon as the box closes.  I put the box in the van, and scoot the seat all the way forward to keep it stable.  

The clinic was set to run 9-12.  I got there at 8:32.  There were at least 30 cars ahead of me.  

The line snaked back and forth through the parking lot, Grumman was swearing at me in cat language, and right after we finally got up to the part where they give you a clipboard, he managed to open the box and get out while I was filling out paperwork.  

Super grateful I had the harness and leash on him.  

Once he was out of the box, he stopped howling and cursing.  All things considered, he did pretty well with the stop, roll, stop, roll part of the wait.  He looked around for a bit, and then lay on the seat.  (I wouldn't let him go in the back, because I wanted the vet tech to be able to reach him when the time came.)  

All the other cats were in carriers, and the volunteers would take them from the car into a tent, zip it closed, administer the shot, put the cat back in the carrier, and put the carrier back in the car.  

Grumman got his shot in our car, like they do for dogs.  He didn't flinch, yowl, bite, or scratch, which I was pretty impressed with.  

After his injection, I looped the leash around the front passenger armrest and let him explore the back a little, while I pulled over to get out of the way and consider my options.  

I knew I couldn't get him back in the box from inside the car.  And I knew that getting out of the car meant risking him escaping altogether.  

About this time, he plopped on Hannah's seat.  I cautiously rolled forward in the parking lot.  He stayed put.  To make a long story slightly less long, he stayed there all the way home.  I drove with one hand on the arm rest, securing the leash, just in case.  I was exhausted when I got him in the house again, and promptly popped on Amazon to order him a real cat carrier.  Really glad I don't have to do shots again for 2 years.  

Paul's not really a fan of me fostering animals, but the kittens are very curious about him, and were playing with his shoes and climbing his pant leg.  

We made a couple of pickups at the library, of course.  Our curriculum has an extensive suggested reading list, so we always have 60 books on hold.  Any time we pick up new books, I come home and add more.  

Summer reading program must have gone well for them this year, because they're doing an autumn version.  The kids will each get a free book, so that's cool.  

Miss Adorable and I talked Eli into a little photo shoot in uniform, but he did not want them online.  I explained that this was a picture of me, so I could share it.  He just rolled his eyes at me.  He's going to be overseas for a long time, so I wanted some fresh pictures while I have the chance.  

Next week, we'll be wrapping up Canada and then starting Brazil.  The printer went psycho when I asked it to print 2 sheets of writing paper with Brazilian flags around the border.  We got 9 pages--some of them were even double sided.  So I told the girls we'd just have to do extra writing!  They were Not Amused.  I was kidding.  I'll just have them use the Brazil paper for any writing or copywork they do while we're learning about Brazil.  Good thing we'll be working on that country for 3 weeks, instead of the 2 we've spent on the US, Mexico, and Canada.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Our Kitteny, Artsy, Smoky Week

This "week" ended up being a bit longer than a week, because I got distracted and didn't get a chance to blog over the weekend.  

The girls have been a big help with socializing the kittens, usually right after their baths.  We've seen a lot of development in the week or so we've had them.  

Another after bath favorite is to go in the playpen with the heating pad under it.  We had a large animal playpen like this one, but the foster bunnies chewed a hole in it.  I ordered another one recently, and laughed at myself for accidentally getting a much tinier one.  Turns out, it's a great size for baby kittens.  

Have you heard of Eat 2 Explore?  I saw an ad for them on Facebook, and thought it would be a neat addition to our around the world homeschooling theme, and it would be a fun way to work with the girls on new skills.  

We've been working on the Mexico box.  Hannah helped me make the fajitas.  (The rice-a-roni was our own addition.)  

They were quite yummy, and we have 2 more recipes to try from this box.  

The box includes not only recipes and a few ingredients, but also a pin, sticker, tool (cool avocado tool in this box) and related educational activities.  It's a great extra for our country studies, and I'm looking forward to seeing what's in the Brazil box when we get there.  

Little Bertie is just a tiny scrap of messiness now, but he's going to be absolutely gorgeous when he gets bigger.  

I feel bad for not showing as many pictures of Cleo, but they don't come out as well, with her dark eyes and dark fur.  

My girls are just not excited about coloring.  I feel there are benefits, so we'll finish up the coloring books for Mexico and Canada (and later in the year, India) but I won't be buying more coloring books for other countries.  

Homeschool can happen at all hours of the day.  We decided to make Ojos de Dios (God's Eyes) after baths one night.  

They turned out well.  The girls hung theirs in their room, and I hung mine on the bulletin board.  If we do a homeschool tree at Christmas, we'll be sure to hang these as ornaments.  

Watching Sunday school.  We're living in weird times.  

Matilda recently hit 3,000 miles.  Longest "new car" phase ever, since we hardly leave the house this year.  

Note the 106* temp?  Yeah, when I got in, it was 111*, but it cooled a bit by the time I got to Bri's work to pick her up.  It's been hot and smoky, two factors keeping us in the house, when I really would rather be out exploring nature with the girls.  We were hoping to attend a Homeschool Hikers event, but it was cancelled due to air quality.  

This was the pile of ash that built up in just a few hours after taking her through the car wash.  It's weird to be checking the air quality more often than the weather.  

It's also weird to be grateful when the weather is "only unhealthy" and not "hazardous."  But I guess we're all getting used to weird this year.  I had to scrub the ash out of the bird bath.  Actually, I should probably go rinse it again.  Arizona is reporting lots of dead migratory birds, possibly from the smoke.  I want to offer fresh water for our feathered friends.  

There are good things and bad things about using the same curriculum again several years later.  One of the good things is familiarity, and a general sense of how it works and what to do.  One of the bad thing is preconceived ideas, based on past experience.  Eight years ago, we did the tissue paper flowers, and my boys hated it.  I remember that being a craft flop.  

Hannah and Katie did fine with them.  We even added a couple drops of essential oil to make them smell like flowers.  The plan is to use them for table decor when we make our next Mexican meal.  

This is kitten central when it's clean.  Which happens 3x/day.  

 This is kitten central 10 minutes later, and most of the rest of the time.  The water bowl got used for a splash pad, and there's food everywhere.  And yes, I know they'll be able to hop out of the tub soon.  I'm both anticipating and dreading it.  Hoping they're less messy when they're more mobile.  

As we wrapped up Mexico, we did a cactus art project.  

Watercolor, sharpie, glue, and rice for the cactus prickles.  

Oh Grumman.  

We watched a video about the migration of monarch butterflies.  Through the cat.  Who really enjoyed it as much as we did.  

Oh Grumman.

I had the girls do our North America GeoPuzzle (these are seriously the best puzzles!) because it has all the Canadian provinces & territories as individual, correctly shaped pieces.  

We're flapping along in our flying science.  Katie was proud of her notebooking page and asked me to take a picture, so here you go.  

Oh Grumman.

I thought perhaps the additional exposure to provinces would help them learn to spell them, but when they filled in a blank Canadian map with the province & territory names, it became evident that Nunavut stuck.  

And now you know where Sam got his punny sense of humor.  

Lil mookedy moos mastered my purse this week.  Bertie would climb up and then look down like, "I'm not sure I can make that jump."  It was adorable.  

Guys?  You're supposed to climb *out* of the playpen, not try to climb *into* it.  

After we finished up Mexico, we started learning about Canada, which, in my mind is polar bears, Mounties, and polite people, eh?  So day one of our polar bear art project involved drawing a horizon line and some snowflakes, and then glazing over them with a clear glitter coat.  

I don't know that all good things must come to an end, but it sure seems like a lot of them do.  These guys have had a blast being stationed together in Texas.  But Eli has finished tech school, and is headed to his first duty station, which happens to be overseas.  

Fortunately, his travels include a stop at home to visit.  Oh Grumman.  

Day 2 of the polar bear craft involved using foam tape to mount the Cricut cut polar bears and gluing on a googley eye.  When I thought this up, my intention was for the glitter glaze to be snow-like.  However, as you can see from Katie's picture, it more closely resembles aurora borealis at the right angle, which is a totally cool unexpected twist, and a nice segue into learning about the northern lights.  

Stay safe out there, friends!