Only a day away...

We close on our house tomorrow.  In light of that, I have thought about posting a picture of the house, and I am a little hesitant, and I will be frank, it has everything to do with my pride.  Yes, I am extremely proud of my humility.  It is a funny thing to come to terms with.  I know that the house we chose was the right house, but it is nice, no, it is really nice.  The nicest house I have ever lived in.  I'm having trouble with that.  I like my modest townhome.  It makes me feel humble...even when I am not.  Funny how that works.

The second option, I had come up with in my subconscious, was to post a picture and then explain about how it isn't as nice as it looks and really talk it down.  I do that a lot too, it makes me feel more humble, not sure why.

And all this brings to mind a story...about a car...

When we lived in Seminary housing, and everyone was dirt poor, there was a lady who lived there, she might have been a nice lady, but I didn't take the time to find out.  She drove a beamer (bmw).  That was all I needed to know about her.  I frequently said, as I walked by it in the parking lot, that she could give us some money if she had so much extra lying around.  Quite proud of myself in my dark green aerostar of weakness.  It was a terrible car, it really was, but I was quite proud of its ugliness.  I looked for pictures for about 10 minutes.  Apparently I wasn't proud enough of it to take pictures.  Anyway, as God would have it, I would get to be set in my place a couple years later, when Dave bought this...




Now, there was a good reason, of course, and I gave that good reason to everyone who would listen...my justification.  But just to drive myself crazy, I'm not telling you why he chose this car.  I'm not justifying myself to you.  It kills me to do it, but there it is.

I will say, that Dave endured criticism and down right hurtful remarks on a regular basis when he parked it in that same Seminary parking.  But I certainly can't blame those people, I am one of them.

So here's to all of us that our proud of our modest means.  May we live to let others live the way God wants them to.

BTW, I know I just ended the above with a preposition, Dave, but I liked the way it sounded, so too bad.

And tomorrow, I just might post pictures of my beautiful house, if my pride will allow it.

math...helping without doing it for them

If you are like me, you are tired of hearing the same questions over and over because your kids forget how to do a problem, or just don't get something.  It is so much easier to just say, "it's take-away," than going through the why behind it.  But, of course, like everything else in child-rearing, easy in the short-term means more work in the long run.  Two of the things we are struggling with these days are word problems and area/perimeter.

Word Problems 

Stephanie is doing word problems that are mixed addition and subtraction, so she was always asking me whether it's plus or take-away.  When I was in school, my teacher taught me "clue words" like "difference" and "total".  This really confused me more than helped, because if the problem didn't have one of those words, I was out of luck.  So instead, I try to make the problem simpler for Steph.

Lets say, for example...we have 119 pumpkin scones and 320 cranberry scones.  How many more cranberry scones do we have than pumpkin.  Stephanie is immediately overwhelmed because it says hundreds.  So I change the problem and ask her out loud...we have 1 pumpkin scone and 3 cranberry scones, how many more cranberry scones than pumpkin.  Then when she says 2, I ask if she added 1 and 3 to get 2 or subtracted.  That way she has figured it out on her own.  She has just now gotten to the point that the hundreds don't overwhelm her, but it was a long haul.

Area

Sarah is doing area and perimeter right now, and I feel like I'm repeating myself a lot with formulas.  Dave loves formulas, and most of the time doesn't know where the formula came from, or how it actually works.  I think this is just memorizing and not real math, so I automatically shun this type of math.  But it has worked pretty well for Dave thus far, so you can take this or leave it.  I have stopped with the formulas, and we have started using graph paper.  You can print this free graph paper, if you don't have any.  Counting squares has helped with understanding, and also with labeling...lines are labeled in cm, where as squares are labeled in cm2 (imagine the 2 floating in the air).

That's all, I hope this is helping someone...part of me feels like I'm the last person to figure this stuff out, because I normally am the last person to realize things, but maybe a someone will find this stuff helpful.  :)  Feel free to insert encouragement here...

Oh, and now that I have you thinking about scones, I was given a completely awesome recipe for pumpkin scones yesterday...I'm going to make it one more time and change a couple of things then I will share.  :)

define me

I'm still making my way through this incredible book by Susie Larson, the uncommon woman.  I am convicted every time I read it.  I thought I would share again today...my pride took a hit...which is a great thing.

Unfortunately, we have a harder time extending grace toward those who struggle with areas that happen to be our area of strength. If we're good with money, we tend to look down on the one that doesn't have the savvy instinct that we possess.  If we are generally healthy, we feel sure that the chronically ill must be doing something wrong.

If we're honest here, most of us at some time or other feel subtly proud of our strengths when we're around a weakling.  For the most part, we try not to judge them, but wonder why they can't get it together...[she makes and exception for the more godly people she knows]

It is interesting, though, to note how subtly we take ownership of and credit for our areas of strength.  If we aren't careful, we will come to believe that these strengths define us.  We start to trust in the gifts instead of the Giver.

Today I'm thinking about what defines me...

a few firsts...

First, Harry Potter, without the spoilers.  Deathly Hallows comes in first place for Harry Potter movies.  Half-Blood Prince last.  Deathly Hallows first.  Half-Blood Prince last.  Not sure how the rest go, but these are firmly in place.  Seriously, I can't even watch Half-Blood Prince, it just makes me cringe way too often.  But I'll shut up about that now, it has been a year, I'll try and let it go.

First time I stepped foot into a Menard's was today.  We don't technically have Menard's in Kansas City, the closest one is about 20 miles outside the Metro area, I think, so I have heard about it, but never entered one.  They have one in Evansville, and it is my new favorite store.  If you don't have one by you, think Home Depot on steroids, with better prices.  I told Dave that he shouldn't let me go back without a chaperon.  I was half joking.

First time I visited this website was this week.  Coupled with the Menards experience, this could be really bad.  Bad for Dave, that is.

First Taylor Swift album I own, was given to me this weekend.  A couple of weeks ago, I read this post by Kat, and listened the The Best Day.  Kat warned me, but was right, it induced the ugly cry.  I mentioned to Dave that I listened to the song, and really liked it (I hope to eventually be able to listen to it without crying), and ended up with the whole album this weekend as a gift...something to listen to on the car ride home.  I'm officially a fan...of Dave...and Taylor.

And one last...last month Dave and I will be living in a different states, started yesterday.

status update

I've been fighting a terrible internet connection all week.  I am hoping that this will actually post. 

It is 1 1/2 hours until people will begin watching Harry Potter 7.  I am not one of those people, and I was a bit bummed by that, but will be seeing it tomorrow night with my fanatical husband...I wonder if he is going to dress up.  :)  So basically, no internet, way too much laundry, I just got unpacked, and I am packing again tonight.  Such is life.  I will let you know how HP goes.  You probably shouldn't read that post if you don't like spoilers, or don't care about Harry Potter.  I also will let you know that a movie that is a book adaptation will never meet my expectations, so my review will most likely be negative...but since HP6 hit rock bottom, and all they have left is to move upwards, I'm hopeful. 



mischief managed.

math...a brief history and the power of ten

In my own very limited personal experience, I have found that the subject that is most intimadating to most moms is math.  So I offer my small amount of understanding, in hopes that it may encourage some of you on to love math...okay, not to hate math.  And just to keep it real, I can't spell and I am terrible at grammar, but maybe you could help enlighten me.

A History

Let's start out with the terrible measurement system that the US and Britain still use.  Inches, feet, yards, etc...it is really enough to drive you mad with all the memorizing that is needed just to use this silly system.  But there was a good reason for the system, hundreds of years ago (not today).  Mankind did not always understood the decimal point.  The decimal point revolutionized math, and then 10 became the easiest number to use, by far.  Just move the decimal.  That is why the metric system is so stinking easy to use.  But before we understood decimals, we just used whole numbers and fractions.  The number 6 is the easiest whole number to use, because it can be evenly divided by 1,2,3, and 6.  The number 5 is only divisible by 1 and 5.  The number 12 is divisible by 1,2,3,4,6,and 12.  Where the number 10 is only divisible by 1,2,5, and 10.  All that to say, that 10 is the number of choice for the day, but don't hate 12, it had it's purpose.

The Power of Ten

Ten is the number for today, so now that we know that, what do we do with that in homeschooling?  I am proposing that the most important thing you can teach your Pre-K children is the 10 number bonds...what sets of numbers make up 10 which are as follows...1 and 9...2 and 8...3 and 7...4 and 6...5 and 5.  This is the single most important concept for mental math later in life.  More important than multiplication tables.  Having these memorized before looking at a single math workbook will give your kids such a huge headstart, whether they are homeschooled or not.

This is why.  When you do a subtraction problem, like 15-7, you are most likely to think about the numbers 3 and 5 and add them together.  You get the 3 from the ten number bond, that is 7 and 3 make 10.  Then 15 is 5 more than 10.  So you add 3 and 5 together to get the answer 8.  This becomes increasingly more important the bigger the numbers become, as you start thinking in 100s instead of 10s.  So 759-298...you can do this in your head by adding 2 to 298 and subtracting 300 from 759.  Then adding 459 plus 2 to get your answer...461.  All of this revolves around the fact that you know those ten number bonds...really, it does.  Think about every multiple digit addtion and subtraction problem you have ever done...carrying borrowing, etc...all needing to know these 10 number bonds.

How-To

So how do you teach your children ten number bonds.  Anytime you are counting things in groups of ten, you are teaching this principle.  Kids are curious, they will notice these groupings automatically.  A few things we do are:

Pick up toys 10 at a time.

Disperse candy 10 pieces at a time.

Set a timer for 10 minutes until something special, and watch the time tick off.

Allow 10 books to be checked out from the library at a time.  "How many more can I have", will inevitably be asked, which becomes a great teaching moment.

This is all really basic once you think about it, but I have found that most people, including me, weren't taught the why behind math, just how to memorize and do it.  I hope it has been helpful, and if not, please don't feel the need to read the next post, which will involve helping your younger elementary kids with math seatwork.  It might or might not be on Monday.  We will see.  :)

about my pity party

I was going to tell you about my breakdown the other night, but first, I have to share about my experience last night at our new YMCA.  This is Dave's second home...next to work.  He is actually at the apartment less than those 2 places.  If you count sleeping, it may be a toss up.  And for the record, I go to the Y twice a week, mainly because the girls have PE there, and it looks bad for me to read the whole time.  So I do a 15 min weight workout and then read for 45 min.  Anyway, the point is, I do use weights twice a week.  So back to the Y last night.  I have never used the weights in this Y, and they have completely different systems, complete with a separate handle to change the weight increments by 5lbs, which I still don't get.  So I go and ask the employee that works the weight room for help.  Apparently you have to make an appointment for the full tour of the weight room, but he had 5 minutes to spare to help me out.  I listened attentively and asked a few questions, and at the end of the 5 minutes, he encouraged me to make an appointment for the full tour.  And then, with a serious, yet concerned face, he tells me that the tour normally lasts an hour, but in my case, more like an hour and a half.  Thanks.  Very nice.

So with that in mind, my week has been somewhat rough.  The littlest things have been pretty major, as I don't know anyone here, and have had to relearn about everything it seems (and have been so disappointed with the service at both Starbucks, I'm thinking of giving up coffee...no, not really, but the service has been terrible).

This is going to be very long, I'm seeing that now...sorry.

So last week (history is appropriate here), I was planning on visiting Dave only Thurs thru Sunday of this week, that way the girls could go to their regular AWANA.  But Sunday night, I decided that the better plan would be to come earlier, and have the girls go to AWANA here, that way they could get to know a little about the place we are moving, and Dave and I could have 90 minutes by ourselves...the latter being the main reason for coming earlier in the week.

So yesterday afternoon I talked to Dave and mentioned that I would go ahead and feed the girls so we could leave right when he got home.  And so I was feeding the girls dinner when he called.  He reported that he was going to be home later than he though...I'm thinking still before AWANAs, but when I ask how late, I quickly realize he has no idea.  He then proceded to explain the reason to me for his delay, which I heard none of, because I basically started sobbing immediately.  I probably wasn't very nice, I will admit it.  But he was ruining my plans.

So at this point, I am taking the girls to AWANA, by myself if you didn't catch that earlier, and since I have been blessed with a GPS, I wasn't thinking about the possibility of getting lost.  But as we get nearer to the church, I am seeing a lot of road closed signs, and then my turn is closed, and as I begin making a mile wide circle around the church, I realize that the road that the church is on, is the one that is closed.  So I make my way past the road closed signs, and yes, I'm crying again (I talked to the pastor of this church the day before, and he didn't mention anything about construction) and our 15 minutes early has turned into 5 minutes late.  I'm considering turning around, but really, the sole reason I didn't turn around was that then Dave would win, and there would be no free babysitting and that he stood me up wouldn't matter anymore.  Yes, that exactly how my brain was working.  So I pushed on, and drove about 3/4 of a mile on a packed dirt road, dodging man holes that were 4 feet high, in the dark.  And we did finally make it to the church.

My eyes are red and puffy at this point, and my main goal is to get the girls into the church, sign them in, say as little as possible and go find a coffee shop that doesn't have horrible service.  I do my best to sign the girls in with one word answers (horrible first impression, I know) and after 15 minutes of showing me where all the girls are going and where I'm supposed to pick them up, I am heading out the door.  But as I'm leaving, one of the Sparks leaders stops me (she probably detected the red eyes) to tell me a little about the church, find out a little about me, and was really as sweet as can be.  I talked with her about 20 minutes, and then proceeded back out to the car, in a much better mood. 

As I'm pulling out of the parking lot, Dave calls and says that he is ready to meet me at this unfound coffee shop with better service...which ended up being Panera (they have a Panera here, I love Panera).  Our date did get cut to about 15 minutes...not what I had hoped for, but I did later realize that if Dave had been with me to drop the girls off, I probably wouldn't have met this very sweet woman, and gotten to begin a relationship with her.  I kind of think God knew all this, but I am still reluctunt to admit this because it would let Dave off the hook, and now that he has actually started reading my blog, I feel that admiting that it was probably God's perfect timing is about as much as I can give.  Sorry Hun.

The end...less on my life, more on math and homeschooling tomorrow.

some diversions

 I'm going to stop being grumpy now...and you won't have to hear about any more showers...sorry about that.

Yesterday afternoon, we found Dave's computer stocked with Brit Nicole, which has been a great diversion, unless you are the lady downstairs.  It has been a continual dance party.  I can't hear whining or crying over the music, either.

Diversion #2...Furniture Assembly 101.  The girls helped assemble these stools, so we have some place to sit.  Dave appropriately noted that they are now more advanced than he is in the realm of furniture assembly.  Yes.  They absolutely are.  At least he knows his gifts.

I will leave the story about how I spent most of last night crying for a later date, when I can process and maybe even laugh a little at myself.  We are off to invade the library...Have a great day.



a shower of epic proportions

We are now in Evansville visiting Dave.  The girls have been bouncing off the wall excited.  I have been grumpy pretty much the whole time. :( 

Dave has this 2 bedroom apartment...which would be a wonderful place to live if you are single, but without furniture it is on par with a cave.  A really echoey cave.  A cave above a nice unsuspecting woman and a dog, who shouldn't have to be subjected to us...hopefully she can hold out a few more days. 

First mistake was not bring my coffee maker.  What was I thinking? 

Second, I really didn't figure in the psychotic, hyperactive spirit of 4 girls who haven't seen dad in 8 days.  Seriously...you would think he was Justin Beiber or something...and you're right, I might be a little jealous, which probably adds to the irritation.

Third, I didn't bring my bundt pan.

So anyway, enough with my moaning...but I have been pretty much that miserable to be around these past 24 hours...then this morning, after the first run I have taken in weeks, I got into the shower.  It is one of those showers like a hotel that you can only adjust the water temperature, but not the pressure.  So I turn on this water, and I have never seen this kind of water pressure in my life.  I am thinking that it might actually bruise me.  But I have no options, so I proceed with the pelting water and after about 30 seconds I concluded that this was pretty much the best shower of my life.  I felt like I had my own personal masseuse.  I could feel the tension draining from my body.  I couldn't even hear the girls doing gymnastics in the living room.  It was completely wonderful, and I began thinking about staying in the shower all day.  But then, the obvious happened, my shower turned to ice.  It was sweet while it lasted.  Maybe even enough to outweigh the disadvantages of the cave for the rest of the week.  We'll see.

Becoming a Blessing

I have been thinking more about this Susie Larson quote, that I posted here a couple of months ago.

How do we know if we are held captive by others' opinions...When our goal is more to impress than to bless.

As I try to fit in with my peers, I'm often thinking about how to appear laid back and without cares.  It is a prized character trait in society today.  Not getting too worked up over anything, and not caring too much about any issue or person for that matter.  Maybe I'm off base from your perspective...I'm just saying this is how I see things going down.

At Life Group tonight, some of my friends were talking about the same type thing...that we, as women, tend to let other people call us, other people befriend us on facebook, or more simply put, let others make that first move.  It ends up, though, that lots of women end up feeling lonely and isolated.

I also buy into the thought that people don't really want to know me...people don't look at me as a friend...people certainly don't look up to me.  The thing is, it just isn't true.  Not everyone thinks about me in a positive light, but most people are just as insecure as I am.  And with the Holy Spirit residing in me, I have something else for people to see...to want...to look up to.  I remember how I felt when I met the person who eventually led me to Christ.  I thought, "He's totally different, I wonder where that peace comes from."   I respected him for that peace.  Bottom-line...my insecurity is a bad excuse to be stand-offish about relationships.

So, in light of my goal to bless more than impress, I'm going to have to start making the first move, going beyond the cool, laid back persona, in order to really bless others.  I'm not saying I need to start attacking people, but that my insecurities are holding me back...holding me back from God's blessing in my life...holding me back from becoming that blessing to others. 

In case you need something to do...

It is now completely obvious that I have way too much free time on my hands...I have posted about everyday this week...and I am restraining myself.

I have also had so much fun catching up on some blogs...so in case you needed something to do...I thought I would share.  :)

But first...

     I walk into the bathroom to brush my teeth this morning, and this is how I find Annie's toothbrush. 

So on to things to do with your free time...

I am loving this blog.  You can read about Caroline and her "dangerous moves" here, and better yet, watch the "dangerous moves" here.  Caroline is in 2nd grade...don't worry, it is a family friendly experience.

One of my friends, Sam, moved to the Netherlands a few months ago, with here new husband Dan, and her chronicles of her adventures are so much fun to read...and they make me SO glad to be living here, in the Midwest. 

At Inspired to Action, Kat has this video that is so moving...making me want to be the Mom that my girls wish I would be...the Mom that God wants me to be.  So great.

And last but not least...I was also wondering why I've Been Cleaning My Home All Wrong?  But whatever the reason, it is going to stop.  :)  Hope you all have a good night. 

a monument

There are days when I feel like I will never change...that I'm stuck being the person I am today...that my striving is all in vain.  I figured out a while back that I need a monument for those days.  I need somthing to remind me that I'm not that same person I was ten years ago.  I need something that I can't second guess myself on...something pretty concrete. 

My monument is my house...well, the cleanlieness of my house.  If you talk to my parents, my college roommates or my patient husband, you would know that my house is not what it was 10 years ago...it is not even what it was a year ago.  If I were a little more humble, I would post pictures demonstrating this, but as it goes, I'm not quite reconciled completely with the filth I lived in for many, many years.  Neither am I defined by the filth or the cleanliness, but I am encouraged by the transformation.  I have transformed in many other ways too, but it is so much easier to second guess myself on things that can't be recorded in jpeg format.

So on days when I feel utterly discouraged, I remember, I have the Spirit of Power, that has transformed me, and is transforming me.  Do you have a monument?

Cowgirl Fun

I stayed up entirely too late reading this last night.  Do Not click on this link unless you have 2-3 hours to spare or you have greater will-power than I, when it comes to whirlwind romance sagas.  You've been warned.

To go with the above theme, the girls all had some cowgirl fun at the Red Barn in Weston, Mo last week.

I maybe should have checked the helmet instead of worried about pictures.  That doesn't look like it will do a thing.  Also, I realize you can't see Annie's face, she won't leave a ponytail in her hair...it's enough to drive you nuts.
Annie on the pony.

This is such a great picture (if I don't say so myself).

Hannah on her way out of the Prairie Grass Maze.  For optimal enjoyment, you will have to enlarge the picture and see the pout on her face.
This is an attempt at fake crying, which will be laughing as soon as she starts talking.  :)

It's all about this tiny cut on her hand...which doesn't really hurt, because she has the pain tolerance of a solid rock, but she just wanted a little sympathy.  I can do that.

This is Sarah in absolute bliss.  She is my animal lover through and through, and no amount of talk about how much work and money pets are has yet to sink in...looks like she will have to learn that lesson the hard way. 

So cute.  This is pretty big stuff from the girl who used to be afraid of everything.

I had to add this one, I love the way the helmet totally envelops Hannah's petite featured face.

passion

We are getting back to normal here...sort of, it is past midnight, and I am still up, but soon things will be normal.  :)  School has been a bit sporadic lately (we did school through half of the summer for those who are counting), anyway, the great part about sporadic school is seeing more passion in the learning process.  We bought Sarah a protractor this week...at Walmart...where the lady that helped me find this needle in the haystack told me that they don't sell protractors much even during school supply pandemonium.  She attributed it to the fact that kids don't use them in school anymore.  I told her that this could not be, it is sacrilege and got me a little worked up, but I decided to drop it, as she was set in her belief.  But I still don't believe it.  Please tell me that your children or nieces or nephews or anyone you know in school are learning to use a protractor.  Anyway, this has nothing to do with the whole passion thing.  Sarah got to use the protractor, and was still doing math after dinner, and finally asked if she could take it to bed with her, as she wanted to do just one more page.  A child after her mother's heart...well, not really.  This is a first for her, and I really always felt that way about math.  Oh, well.  So a month of math devoured in a night...that is something anyway.