Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Week One

Away with the school schedule! The next 2 weeks we are having Christmas fun every day. We always look forward to this part of our homeschool year. We sat down on Monday with some idea books and wrote out all the things we wanted to do to lead us up to Christmas.

Made caramel apples. What do these have to do with Christmas? I don't know, but the girls really wanted to make them and EAT them. This is usually our Art Day. We looked at a few different artists' renditions of Madonna and Child from a book I have had since high school about the Prado museum.
We read "The Night Before Christmas." Wouldn't it be cool to memorize this?? I thought that last year and we attempted it--even got a few stanzas in. This year I thought the girls could use a little motivation and it worked. They earned a mini candy for each stanza memorized. Happy Hanukkah! We learned a little about what Jews believe, the Menorah and the miracle of the candle burning in the temple for 8 days. We played dreidel which is really fun, and would have sang songs, but we didn't know any!
We made up our own (sung to the tune of "Happy Holidays").
Happy Hanukkah (echo) Happy Hanukkah
repeat repeat
May your Menorah lights keep burning
Happy Hanukkah to you.
Ha Ha! I hope that's not sacriligious....

Made "Christingles."
Read "The Cat in the Manger."
Went to a local production of The Nutcracker.

Decorated Christmas tree cakes.
Read "The Elves and the Shoemaker."
7 more days to go!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Elfettes and Boggle

We are wrapping up our last week of "school" before the much anticipated Christmas break.
Today was one of those perfect school days--the kind I like to post. Why was it good? Maybe it was because we had a fellow school friend over for the day while her parents were away. This made school seem extra special AND there was no complaining! Strength in numbers!

We covered phonics, spelling, and handwriting with several rounds of Boggle--2nd grade style. That means 2 letter words were acceptable and proper names like Zed.

For math we had an introduction to multiplication. This is totally silly but it worked. We pretended I was Mrs. Claus and the girls were my "elf-ettes." Everyone knows that regular elves build toys but what do elf-ettes do? They help Mrs. Claus bake cookies. Afterall that is the diet secret that has kept Santa going strong for years.
Using blocks for cookies, and uno cards for cookie sheets Mrs. Claus gave instructions by writing on the dry-erase board.
that meant make 3 groups of 3 or put 3 cookies on 3 different cookie sheets.
how many altogether? 9
so, 3x3=9
then it was 6x4= and so on, etc, etc.
The more ridiculous the scenario the more likely the more likely they'll remember the least that's the hope I'm clinging to.

In between lessons they had breaks, cleaned rooms, did jobs, music practicing etc.

We had lunch in Spanish, reviewing food and colors.

In the afternoon we had quiet reading time--my favorite!!

In and around all that I somehow got the kitchen cleaned, living room vacuumed, floor swept, 2 loads of laundry, 3 French lessons, and this blog post! I guess this is one of those rare "Superwoman" days and the kind I definitely like to post to buoy me up on those "Slackerwoman" days.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Kate is in 4th grade, going to public school for her first time since Kindergarten. The change was good for everyone. I never have to tell her to do her homework. In fact, I'm hardly involved at all. She is her own self-monitor; doing her homework, projects, logging her reading chart, and bringing me the occasional paper to sign or fee to pay... I dont' know why she was nervous to go to parent teacher conferences. Her teacher told me she has all A's and H's, is a wonderful student and artist, and is kind and sensitive to others. Then she gave her a candy to take home.
We went to the book fair after where she chose a cute little after school snack recipe book.

Brynn and Adrie wanted to hear all about it when we got home. "Do we get to have parent teacher conferences?" they asked. I think it was the candy they were after. Anyway we decided to go with it. Kate pretended to be their mom and she brought Brynn to the table where I, the teacher had laid out some of the things Brynn's been working on for 2nd grade.
"This is a sample of Brynn's handwriting-- She's doing very well at writing and memorizing scriptures in the morning like this one...
Kate mentioned that she wasn't allowed to read scriptures in her school so I explained that ours was a "special" school. That proved to be a fun theme to run with. We went through some math assignments and literature, looking at her pictures of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and read the story she finished about what she thought happened to him.
"Another one of the subjects at our special school is violin. I'm sure Brynn would love to play something for you." I winked. At that point Kate excused herself and Brynn's parent/teacher conference was over. She looked in the candy jar and got an "airhead" for being such a smart kid.

Then it was Adrie's turn. She showed Kate some of her Halloween artwork and the poem about Fall she recently made up and wrote in her sketchbook:

Red, Orange
Purple, Brown--
Leaves look pretty,
On the ground.

We showed Kate how she was learning about adding and subtracting in math. At the end of it she chose "nerds" from the candy jar.

We ended with an introduction to our special "chef" Kate that made healthy creative snacks for the kids at our special school. Brynn shouted, "Kate's the lunch lady!!" which Kate didn't like at all. She reaffirmed that she was a "CHEF" then haughtily donned her apron and got right to work with a pretzel rod dipped in peanut butter and topped with Cheerios concoction.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Go, Go, Go,

Have I ever mentioned that we like to jump in the car and go on field trips? We've taken a few over the last month.
First, and favorite: California beach camping trip.

Tidepools, shell-collecting, seal watching -- You can read more about it here on our family blog: Washington Online school had a free day at the zoo. We just had to take advantage of that! Cannon (2) would repeat after me every animal that we saw. His vocabulary was expanded by leaps and bounds that day, or at least for the short-term. "Lemming, cavy, ostrich, boa, gibbon, sloth."
We headed to the mountains to see the spectacular fall colors and collect leaves.

We did leaf rubbings with crayon and paper back at home.

Is there any better way to spend an afternoon than visiting friends on a farm? The kids pet the horses and rode them. They gathered eggs from the coop and chased the chickens. The brave kids caught them (brynn) and the others clutched me and screamed for dear life. They climbed haystacks, ate popsicles in a treehouse, watched the sheep and goats in the meadow, and played with puppies (again the brave ones did, while the others clutched me and screamed...)
We sampled some mint leaves and took home a bundle of fresh garlic. Farm life is so fun-- if you're not afraid of animals and you don't have to do any of the work!

We climbed the red rock hills that overlook our city and had a picnic. The girls spotted a dozen cows with their calves winding their way down a mountain trail, making their way to a meadow. The kids (even the not-brave ones) were so excited, they took off running down the mountain to try and catch up with them. What were they thinking? Are cows not scarier than puppies? And have a not mentioned to them enough times about my terrifying experience of being chased by an angry cow while jogging?!!! Cows are definitely friendlier, smaller, and safer from a distance. Luckily, we slip-slided down the rocky hills and caught up with the girls before they got too close.
Those are some of our adventures in rural UT-opia.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Crazy--LOCA !

This week we picked up where we left off a few months ago in memorizing chunks of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. I figure if we work on a bit here and there then by the time the girls graduate from high school they will have at least the last paragraph memorized...

We tried a couple of new things this week:

  1. Instead of me reading their literature aloud to them, I gave each of the girls a book. They read it quietly on their own then narrated it back to me. Josephina and the Story Quilt and Clara and the Bookwagon were the two selections. The next day they traded books and did the same thing.
  2. Our neighbor and I combined forces. On Thursday he taught my girls science. Adaptation was the big word they learned there. On Friday, his kid joined ours for Art. Worked wonderfully...and in that hour that they were gone to science lesson---I got so much done--washing windows, folding laundry, sweeping. I think if my kids were in school all day I could have a very clean and organized house!

We made hair bows and watch bands for Art, while listening to Vivaldi.

One of the best stories to teach compassion and kindness for those who are different is Crow Boy. After we read it aloud I asked each of the girls to pick one person they knew who they could be especially kind to--by inviting them over or including them, a friendly wave, etc. Each day I've been asking them to report on how they've done. Now that we've tried that for a few days, if any kid from the neighborhood comes over wanting to join the girls and their other friends all I have to do is (quietly ) mention "crow boy" and with a knowing look they will be quick to reach out and include the new person.

For nature day each girl chose from a selection of books we got from the library about various animals/insects. They were to read over it and the next day be prepared to share a few things (according to their ages) that they learned.

Brynn chose a book about SNAKES. She is 7 so she picked 7 things to tell us about snakes.

Adrie is 5. She shared 5 things that she learned from her DOLPHIN book.

I told them I had 32 things to share about my book. They gasped. Ha Ha!

They drew pictures and wrote about their project in their sketchbooks.

Adrie finished another unit of math and earned a prize from the prize jar. Brynn is almost done with her unit on telling time to the nearest quarter hour and counting dollar bills and cents.
She got a prize for spelling her weekly list of words like butterfly and sailboat correctly.

While the girls were eating lunch with a friend over I tried the Spanish immersion thing. I asked them in Spanish what kind of sandwich they wanted and if they wanted to drink agua or leche. The girls' friend looked at me like I was completely LOCA! My girls already know I'm crazy. Too fun! We reviewed colors using their cups and plates, and of course we covered different sandwich fillings like jamon and queso.

Kate was at public school while we were having all this fun this week ;) She rides her bike with her friends and stops for a free cookie at the grocery store. She gets to have recess and is learning what it means to have homework?!

Friday, August 20, 2010

by Christina Rosetti

Hurt no living thing:
Ladybug nor butterly
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor crickets chirping cheerily,
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat nor beetle fat,
Nor harmless worms that creep.

We memorized this poem this week in place of a scripture. It went along well with Nature Wednesday's theme: BUGS
After reading about them I sent the girls off with whatever bug collecting tools they could find: tweezers, jars, magnifying glass and --safety goggles? That was Brynn's idea.

The "pest control guy" came to spray that afternoon (I've seen way to many black widows lurking about). I realize writing this how much that is in stark contrast to above poem....

Anyway, turned out to be a perfect day for the girls to hunt. The bugs came out of their creeping places by the dozens to die...and be collected as specimens. Beetles, crickets, a praying mantis, and a (ackkk!!!) black widow were found--to the delight of the kids. This project may be ongoing all summer long.

For literature this week we read some of Aesop's fables and one of our favorite books, Sam, Bangs and Moonshine. Brynn and Adrie both finished a unit of math, earning them a prize from the prize-jar. We worked on spelling and handwriting and reading aloud.

Today was Art and Cleaning Day...It is 3pm and Brynn still hasn't mustered up the will-power to finish cleaning the bathrooms...

A couple of neighborhood girls joined us for today's Art project: paper houses. The Little Hands Art Book by Judy Press has tons of cute ideas like this one.

Before starting I introduced the girls to Vivaldi's Four Seasons and we listened to it while the girls worked on their projects. They chose a couple sheets of construction paper. One of them they used to cut out the shape of their house. Then they cut out windows and doors and garages and placed them on the 2nd sheet of paper as background.

We talked about different kinds of houses people live in and we practiced knowing our home address. One girl chose to make an apartment, the rest made little replicas of their own house. They scoured magazines, ads, and newspapers and cut out faces, pets, etc. to paste in the windows and make their homes look "lived in."

Friday, August 13, 2010

It was back to the fairgrounds again this week. For Wild Wednesday we read a picture book about the FAIR and then went to our own county FAIR. Pigs, sheep, cows, chickens, bunnies, and roosters--what a hullabaloo! Kate is absolutely sure she would never want to live on a farm.
The girls had fun seeing the exhibits they entered with winning ribbons on them. Kate won a red ribbon for her photograph of Cannon. Brynn won a red ribbon for her painting and a blue ribbon for her modeling clay sculpture of a bird. Adrie worked really hard on her painting but was not allowed to enter it because the cut-off age was 6. Wahh. She did her best to be a good sport but I could see she was disappointed. I hung her picture up and home and let her choose a prize from the prize jar.

Week 2 of school has gone well--not perfect--but well enough. Adrie and Brynn each finished about 10 lessons of math on the computer. Yesterday we finished our Literature selection, The Bears on Hemlock Mountain. Brynn narrated the story back to me. Adrie did the same only in shorter segments throughout. They each came up with an idea for a final project and carried it out.

Adrie (5) gathered "nuts for the squirrels, crumbs for the birds, and carrots for the rabbits. She set them out on the porch and waited for them to come.

Brynn (7) took to the stage. She found our largest pot and tried to hide under it while the bears, Cannon and Adrie, sniffed and pawed around at it. Brynn enlisted Kate to be the father who comes and rescues his son. She took the liberty of "shooting the bears" but didn't want to follow the script and allow Brynn to give her a big hug for rescuing her. Brynn did get her line in "THERE ARE BEARS ON HEMLOCK MOUNTAIN."

Kate sketched a picture with the caption "There are no bears on Hemlock Mountain." The power of a good story is when kids can identify with the characters and apply the story in their own life I knew Kate had done this when she showed me the other half of her sketch. It was a picture of herself surrounded by unfamiliar faces and the caption, "There are no bullies at P-- school."
She is headed off to 4th grade at P--- school in a couple of weeks and we all hope she will have a good experience transitioning from homeschool to public.

Like I said the week wasn't perfect. I tried my best to do the language immersion thing and speak Spanish the latter half of the day. Only problem was by afternoon they were all ready to take off and play with friends. "Adios" was all we got in some days. Other days we did a little better. We used a book from the library about the different members of the family. Now they know what I mean when I call them "mis hijas" (my daughters)

Lastly, they had to finish their Friday cleaning. For Adrie this meant scrubbing the toilets. Brynn, dusting, and Kate, folding laundry.

Today was also the day for passing off this week's scripture:

And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you. (3 Nephi 18;20)

I'm going to be asking for more patience!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tarzan and Cattails

It's Day 3 of school for us. Today was the best of them. Of course!! It was Nature Day. After math, handwriting, scriptures, clean up and a violin lesson we packed a lunch, invited a couple of friends over and headed out for adventure.
One of the little treasures of our town is this park--actually it's the fairgrounds. No metal swingset, plastic slide, or monkey bars here. The fun is all in the trees, and there are 5 HUGE glorious ones! Lovely large weeping willows they are. The park also boasts a vast expanse of grass. Best of all-- no one goes there?!! For those reasons it has become our adopted backyard.
We found cattails on the drive over so we stopped and picked some. We learned from our nature guide a little about them and on the drive home we reviewed...
What can you use cattails for??
"FOOD, SHELTER, FIRE !" came the shouts from the back of the minivan.
Adrie (5) piped in, "and for putting in baby's diapers!"
(A little tidbit we learned from our American Indian unit last year. )

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Let the Learning Begin!

The lazy days of summer have been wonderful! Our batteries have been recharged and tomorrow we are set to begin our at-home online school. This will be our 4th year?! and as each year does there will be a few changes. First of all Adrie (kindergarten) will be joining Brynn (2nd grade) for our online schooling. After many months of weighing the options, we have all felt good about sending Kate to public school for 4th grade. I will miss her ;( and I think she will miss all of her free time but it is what it is. She will start with the rest of the district in 3 1/2 more weeks. Last of all there's Cannon-- (2 1/2yrs old). What will we do with him???

As a homeschooler with 4 years behind me I should have a "groove" but I think each year you take something and you give something and try to come up with a plan that will work for your family for that year. Over these past few years I have made many wonderful friendships with other teacher/mom's. Their influence combined with many good books, (see side bar) articles and the support of our wonderful Washington Online teachers have helped me to form what I call this year's Family CONSTITUTION:

Our family will develop a love of learning through reading, discussions, projects, and activities. We will help each other in pursuing passions and developing talents. Great literature, especially the scriptures, will be the backbone to learning and helping us to emulate Godly characteristics and virtues. In addition we will study Art, Music, Math, Science, History, and Foreign Language. We will learn life skills of cooking and homemaking. We will seek out opportunites to help and serve those around us.

Okay, so I KNOW, that everyday is not going to go chocolatey smooth but we are the nuts and bolts of it and where possible I've put in parenthesis or italicized credits where they are due.

things happening MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY:
morning scripture reading.
Each week starting Monday we will work on memorizing one scripture (L. Tom Perry May 2010 Conference Address, Majesty of Books by Sterling Sill) from our reading. Throughout the week this is what we'll use to copy and practice handwriting. Fridays we will pass it off and maybe there should be a reward after so many "stars" are earned.

Math (k12 online program) will also be done each day in the mornings.

Literature from a host of good resources (k12 selections, biographies, myths, fables, folk-tales, poetry) Honey for a Child's Heart has wonderful suggestions for different age groups.
After each selection the girls will be able to give a narration. (A Charlotte Mason Companion)
and each week will choose a project from a selection of their choice such as drawing a picture, writing a poem, making up a dance, sculpture, etc. (Thomas Jefferson Education)

The afternoons will be available for chores and music practice. Brynn has been taking violin for the last year. (Shinichi Suzuki's Nurtured by Love)

Afternoons will also be for leisure reading, finishing projects if needed, and most importantly DOWN-TIME and FREE PLAY.
Something I would like to try that I learned from reading an article this summer about Utah's Dual Immersion Schools-- They speak English the first half of the day and Spanish the 2nd half. I'm assuming that it is 100% Spanish with no cheating by the teachers?? hard. so I will try my best to do that. Even if we start out with just 10 min. of Spanish a day and work our way up??? Anyway awesome to hear about the success of those schools and I personally feel that knowing a 2nd language is helpful for so many reasons and the younger you are the easier it is.

WEDNESDAYS will be Nature Days or "Wild Days" like the book implies. (Wild Days, A Charlotte Mason Companion) Rain, shine, or snow will be OUTSIDE, either in the backyard weedlot or up in the canyons. With our field guides and sketchbooks in hand we will explore the beauties and enjoy the freeing spirit of being in nature. Beforehand we will read a science selection (k12) about habitats, animals, etc.

Also in the past we've tried to do some service like babysit, take a treat to someone or have them over for dinner. That can make for a busy Wednesday so we might have to see how it goes and switch to Thursdays. I think it would be great to focus on a virtue (Children'sBook of Virtues), read stories about it and challenge the kids to help someone that week. Each week, maybe for family night or at dinner they would come prepared to report on their experience. (Elder Bednar May 2010 General Conference Talk)

FRIDAYS, like last few years, will be Art Days using our k12 curriculum. We will incorporate music into this by introducing a different composer (Mozart, Bach, etc.) and listening to his works for a month. It works out great to let them be inspired by putting the music as background while they work on their art projects. (A Charlotte Mason Companion)

This is also our cleaning day--scrubbing the toilets and sweeping the floors are all part of a good education too right?

Every other TUESDAY afternoon we will participate in clubs with other homeschool families. Brynn and Adrie will be in the younger girls group which I will be in charge of. This will be our 2nd year and what a blessing these friends have been for all of us! We always have fun learning in groups! Each semester the girls study one of the historical American Girls. We use her story along with crafts, songs, food, and fun activities to learn about that era of American History. This year we'll be studying the Colonial Era of Felicity.

With this same group we have planned some holiday parties throughout the year for some extra fun and socializing.

Sometimes I like to break it up a little throughout the year by ditching the routine and focusing just on one subject, like History, for example. Last year we did a week in "Rome" etc. or one week we did a complete housecleaning. Not as fun but it is good to recharge the batteries once in a while. In Sept. we'll be going to the beach for a week. Yay!!!!

I would also like to teach the girls some basic cooking skills so they can be a little more self-reliant and take turns preparing lunches and snacks. We'll take of that, well--during lunch-time!

A Thomas Jefferson Education teaches that children learn best when they pursue their passions and interests and base their learning around that. I think that is a wonderful philosphy and so I asked Brynn and Adrie what they wanted to learn about. Here are their responses:

Brynn (age 7)
different kinds of:
  • birds
  • plants
Adrie (5)
  • nature (specifically dolphins, penguins and elephants)
  • mushrooms
So funny to find out what interests them?! I'm sure those subjects will work out wonderfully for our Wednesday curriculum.

That's a lot. Should I be overwhelmed? Not yet. I'm excited and the girls seem ready to dig in as well. I've heard any education system is like Swiss Cheese. There will be some holes. But, we'll do our best to fill them along the way.

I'm so glad our girls have each other and a great neighborhood of friends to play with. And I'm so grateful for the support of a good husband and family as well as like-minded friends in the local and online community! Here's my toast to a good school year!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's worth it

For all the hard work, frustration, and energy that it takes to teach at home, it's nice to be rewarded once in a while. Today was one of those days when I was reminded why I do it.
We had Art and History at 1p.m. We just started a new unit about Ancient China. The discovery of silk, the building of the Great Wall, and the teachings of Confucius were some of the things we reviewed today.
For an art project we used ideas from our k12 curriculum and made dragons. The symbol of good luck in China. Dragons have the head of a camel, body of a snake, ears of a bull, antlers of a deer, beard of a goat, feet of a tiger, talons of an eagle, and scales of a fish.
Using those guidelines we first sketched them in pencil. Then we outlined them in crayons. Lastly we painted watercolor over the top. The crayon stayed put and the paint filled in all the spaces creating a wonderful effect.

Here was some of the dialogue between 1st grader Brynn and her friend of the same age.
B: Wow, your picture is so good it looks like a teenager made it.
M: Yours doesn't even look like a first grader made that. It's way maybe a 6th grader.
B: I think I'm going to enter mine in the county fair.
M: Me too. I can't wait to show it to my mom.
B: This is the best thing I've ever made. This was the best Art lesson ever.
When they finished Brynn came up to me and said with a little embarrassment, "Mom, I can't help it I'm just SO PROUD of myself!"

Friday, January 22, 2010

Year of the Tiger--Let's Party!

We got together with some of our school friends in the area and celebrated "Chinese New Year." It's not technically until Feb. 14 this year but we've got to give Valentine's it's due.
First the kidlings gathered round while we learned a few facts about China:
  • it's the 4th largest country
  • population 1.3 billion (holy smokes!)
  • capital: Beijing
  • home of the largest mountain: Everest
  • language: Mandarin

Next we learned about some Chinese inventions. I had items in a bag that kids volunteered to come and pick out.

  • toothbrush
  • paper
  • silk
  • compass, etc....

Unfortunately some of their inventions I couldn't bring: fireworks, cannonballs, gunpowder...

Then of course we got busy learning how to celebrate New Year's:

  • sweep the whole house to get rid of bad luck
  • get some oranges (they're very lucky)
  • visit your ancestors (and bring them oranges) Serious bad luck if you don't...
  • get a haircut, new clothes, and new shoes (I personally love this one)
  • wear red (it's very lucky)
  • celebrate for 15 days with family, parades, and lots of food (like shark fin soup)

The kids were very willing to celebrate when they found out about red envelopes called "lai see." Parents, grandparents, relatives, put money in them and give them to all children. We gave each parent enough for each child to get one sometime at home.

Everyone had to find out what animal they were according to the Chinese zodiac and wear their name tag e.g. rooster, ox, snake. We learned about how long ago Buddha called all the animals together for a council and only 12 animals showed up. He thanked them by naming a year for each of them. All the kids (and adults) had to act like their animal and organize themselves into same animal groups. The Chinese believe that whatever year you are born in you will have characteristics of the animal. I happen to be a snake: restrained, tricky and subtle:)

Next we rotated into groups.

The girls started with writing Chinese calligraphy. They were to choose 2-3 different "characters" which I had printed out on cards and make poems out of them to hang in their house. e.g. they might choose house, love, dog. Then they tried their hand at writing the Chinese characters for these in black marker on their red papers.

The boys gladly went to the "tasters table" where I had some sliced oranges and fortune cookies. A few brave boys were willing to try the gingered plums and tea nuts I picked up from the Asian market. They also read a story about New Year's from the library called, Happy, Happy New Year!

Everyone went home with chopsticks and a zodiac calendar and enough "lai see" for the family!

Gung Hay Fat ChoY!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Coming out of Hibernation

After a nice long...yawn...yawn... Christmas break we were back at it today.
I felt recharged. Did the girls? Kate had a come-apart when she saw 7 assignments on her to-do list. Brynn was just glad she only had 4. Adrie--who thought she was going to "real" preschool starting in January but I just couldn't justify spending $ for something we already do at home, so I convinced her that it would be extra super-fun with Mom and Dad this year--was excited to get right to work on her 4 things.
I felt like a busy bee running around and teaching Brynn how to capitalize proper nouns and Kate how to write a book report. Cannon miraculously managed to make it through the morning without creating any disasters. Everyone was done with their math, handwriting, etc. by lunch and with only minor complaints.
At 1pm we had our read-aloud time. We are reading Rebecca Rubin, the American girl. After that they had 30 min. of quiet reading time. Even I joined in on this. Of course, I'm the one that needed the quiet time! Cannon is supposed to be napping through this but he just learned how to climb out of his crib. He toddled out, threw a book in my lap, and plopped in for his own story-time.

The only real glitch came in the afternoon when it was time for Brynn to practice violin. She didn't want to play Twinkle Twinkle again. We had listened to the CD all morning and apparently, playing that song over and over again can make one angry. Angry children and delicate instruments do not mix well so I quickly removed both the violin and bow and put them out of reach on top of the piano. What happened next? I had to leave to take Adrie to dance class. I left her with the warning, "If anything happens to that violin, it will be your birthday present."
When I returned I could hear Brynn still ranting as I came in from the garage. Kate ran to meet me as if to block me from the bad news.

"Is it really true that Brynn's not going to get a birthday present?" She showed me into my bedroom where the violin was sitting on my bed...only it wasn't the same shiny taught-stringed violin it was before I left. It was missing the little bridge and the strings were there but floppy and lazy looking. Between sobs Brynn explained that she had tried to "tune" it. But I wasn't buying it. The fact that she had climbed up to the piano to get her violin when she was angry to me was like pre-meditated murder.
Wouldn't you know, just then her neighborhood friend came skipping over to see if Brynn could play. I told the friend that Brynn was not going to be able to play until age 32.

Fortunately the bridge can be put back in and the strings re-tightened. But, I will let her violin teacher do that when she has her lesson in a few days. Until then, Brynn will not be able to practice and therefore will not be able to play with anyone --which to her will seem like 26 years!