Monday, September 28, 2009

The Flip Side of Socialization…

…is sickness.  We’ve been battling a few different types of sicknesses these last few days.  I think it is time to get everyone back on the regimen of taking vitamins and Echinacea  now that we’re getting back into all of the homeschool activities.

We will be missing our Story of the World class this afternoon, so we will have to try to cover the material we’re missing at some point during this week.  I didn’t have time to blog very much last week seeing as Nico was here with us all week while her Mom went on vacation.  Now that Nico is in 6th grade, we end up devoting between 3-4 hours per day on all of the subjects she needs to cover. Kaya is in third grade and can usually finish her work in 2 hours and I set aside at least an hour a day to work with Luna on “pre-school” type activities. Having Nico here all week is a wonderful blessing, but also requires me to put a lot more time into planning, implementing and recording what is covered for each subject.

This week, I hope to nurse everyone back to good health and work on boosting immunity. I hope my readers are all healthy and enjoying the brilliance of Autumn.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More September Fun

We’ve had a lot of fun since our homeschool co-op and various classes started up recently.  This week’s Story of the World class featured a great (and messy) activity ~ Cave Paintings!


Then on Tuesday, we visited Parson’s Pipe Organs with our co-op group.  It was a very interesting field trip, where we all learned how a pipe organ works as well as how they’re designed and built.

HPIM1801 Checking out the working model of a pipe organ.


We were shown what “pulling out all of the stops” really means.



Then we got to check out the Design Room.

HPIM1808 This amazing, two-story organ frame was probably the coolest part of the tour.

HPIM1813 Before we left, everyone got to pick a pipe to bring home!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

If We Could Walk with the Animals…

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to volunteer at a little Petting Zoo down in town.  I thought it would be good for the girls to help out during a fund-raiser and it was great fun for everyone. They had all sorts of sheep, goats, bunnies, chickens, ducks, miniature pigs, guinnea hens, and even pony rides. 


Setting up before the crowds set in.



Kaya with some baby goats.



Luna loved feeding Red.



They also had little presentations about different animals.



Nico was excited to see a friend she hadn’t seen in quite a while.


HPIM1781 For the last hour that we were there, Kaya carried around a sweet, little black and white bunny.



Right before we left, Kaya and Luna got to take a Pony Ride. Nico proclaimed herself “too big”. Unlike some of the other Pony Rides we’ve seen at events, these ponies got plenty of time to rest in the shade between rides.  Lune was ecstatic and talked about her ride the rest of the day.


All in all, it was a gorgeous September day and everyone had a great time!

On Thursday and Friday, I continued with the 30 Day Shred and found each day to be at least a little bit easier.  Some of the moves, like the anterior lunges, really put me through my paces and  by the last round I feel like I want to stop and rest, but I have been pushing through. I took a Recovery Day yesterday, because I had read that it is recommended and I had really been pushing myself over the last week.

I have noticed a few more positives that have come with working out this month.

  • When dealing with a very disappointing and stressful situation on Friday, my first reaction wasn’t to raid the cupboards for something sweet. Instead, all I really wanted to do was go out for a run and clear my mind.  I just did a quick 1/2 mile but it helped tremendously.
  • While I am, by no means, going on a diet, my eating habits have changed all on their own.  After putting my body through its paces, I am naturally making better food choices throughout the day.
  • I had been going through some pretty serious PMS symptoms over the last year, extreme moodiness and agitation for a week beforehand.  This month,  my cycle pretty much snuck up on me. Woohoo for that!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Catching Up From a Busy Week

Today, I have decided that we’re going to stay home all day.  It has been a fun and busy week full of great activities, but my house has suffered from the schedule and I hope to whip things back into shape.

On Monday, we went to our first Story of the World class.  A very ambitious homeschooling Mom from our area is teaching the class and I can already tell that Kaya is going to get a lot out of it.  This year, they will be covering The Ancients. I will admit that History is probably our weakest subject and this class seems like it is already inspiring a deeper interest in all things Ancient.

On Tuesday, we had our weekly homeschool co-op. Kaya’s favorite class so far is American Sign Language and she practices every day.  It is sweet to see the pride in her face as she shares her newly learned words with Jay when he gets home from work.


I took this picture during gym class and love the combination of the action and the scenery.  We live in such a gorgeous area!

Yesterday, we were invited to a mock archeological dig which was very fun!  The kids had a great time unearthing some treasures that were buried, and then they cataloged their artifacts into different categories.


Again, the scenery is just amazing.

HPIM1767 HPIM1765


What a great learning opportunity!

On the workout front, I tried the 30 Day Shred for the first time yesterday. I started with Level One, as is suggested, and it was difficult enough that I had to stop and rest a few times, but it didn’t kill me! The push-ups were tough.  I admit that even the modified “girly” push-ups were really challenging for me, but I kept at it and did them all.  My armpits are sore as heck this morning and I’m not quite sure how I am going to do it today, but I am going to try! I can tell the ab moves really targeted some neglected muscle groups because when I cough I can feel some core muscles that I never even knew existed.

All in all, today is day number 17 of working out seriously.  For years I had wrongly assumed that because I am moving pretty much non-stop most days (such is the life of a Mom) I was getting in enough exercise.  Wrong. The truth was, I was very out of shape. I have a long way to go, but in these last 17 days I have felt amazing changes, not only in my body but in my mind. I haven’t weighed myself because I am not interested in the numbers at all, but I have increased my stamina and strength.  I have a sense of accomplishment and a motivation to live healthier. Even though I seem to be sore on a daily basis, I have WAY more energy and focus than when I began.

Today’s plan is to regain control of the house and to get day two of The Shred done while the girls rest. Then, I may even take an hour to just lay on the couch and read. :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Not Back to School Picnic

Though the morning started out grey and rainy, by the time we gathered for our Not Back to School Picnic, the sun had come out and it was a lovely day!


The kids started off with a game of Tunnel Tag.


The rock pile was like some sort of Kid Magnet.


The kids were able to pet and feed a pair of cute sheep.


Miss Hannah offers up some pellets.


Luna says she likes she sheep better than the steer because “them steers had slimy noses!”


This is one of the two steer on the farm.

HPIM1728 Kaya snuggling with her little friend.

HPIM1729 Nico and Nancy taking a walk up a trail.

HPIM1730 The kids enjoyed climbing up a large hill.


More fun on the rock pile.

It was a great time, we stayed for hours and the kids played while the Moms got to chat.  I met two new Mom-friends there and I look forward to more gatherings with this awesome group of people!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away….

Today, we are supposed to go to a Not Back to School Picnic with a few of our local homeschooling friends.  A raincloud seems to be stationed right over our house and a cold, Autumn rain is falling.  I am hoping that it passes before too long so that we can still have our gathering.

We have had a stretch of great days, so I can’t really complain.  While temps have been on the cool side, the sun has been out and we’ve enjoyed being outside in the Autumn splendor.

The other day, Luna and I went out for a little Nature Walk on the trails behind our house.  We were on the lookout for pretty leaves to use for a craft.

HPIM1707 Many of the Maple Leaves (which Luna calls “Naples Leaves”) are a brilliant red.

HPIM1708 Luna also found a Blue Jay feather, which she tucked in her leaf bag with her other treasures.


Our kitty, Squeak, tagged along.

When we got home with our bagful of colored leaves, I mixed some water with some white glue. Then, Luna used a paintbrush to put glue all over a square cut from a used manilla folder. Leaves were pressed onto the paper and then more glue was brushed over the top of the leaves to make sure they are secure. The craft takes a while to dry, at least overnight. I will post pictures next time.

Yesterday morning, I got out early for my mile, but my muscles didn’t seem to have the energy I needed.  Disappointed, I ended up walking more of the mile than I had previously. My legs just felt tapped and I couldn’t seem to push past it. With the rain falling this morning, I am going to take a rest day and work on stretching and some arm and abs work. In, what could be described as a moment of madness, I ordered Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred from the interlibrary loan. It should be down at the local library in a day or so and I am going to try it out.  I read a bunch of reviews yesterday and it seems like it is very hard but effective.  I’m looking for something to do when the weather keeps me from getting out for a run. I read that part of the workout includes push-ups and I am ashamed to say that at the moment, I can’t even do a modified push-up.  This should be interesting.

While yesterday’s run did have me disappointed, there are many positives that I’ve discovered come with running and working out.

  • Even with achey leg muscles, I no longer schlep up and down the stairs, but can run up them with ease.
  • My tendency to get cranky has decreased markedly.
  • I have the energy and motivation to tackle big jobs.
  • Although my body doesn’t seem to look any different, the way I feel about myself has changed.  I’m standing a little taller and feeling proud of my accomplishments.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Catching Up

I have really been neglecting this blog, I feel like I have been moving non-stop for weeks!  With Summer coming to an end, I have really been involved in fine tuning the homeschooling plan for the upcoming year as well as preparing for the start of our homeschool co-op and Story of the World class. 

I am still managing to keep the schedule open for fun and over the weekend, we got together with family for a Labor Day weekend party.


Aunt Amy had all sorts of fun games set up.  In this one, you would try to slap a sopping sponge onto  the cut-out of the Lennox man.


The weather couldn’t have been better than it was that day! The sky was brilliant blue and it was pleasantly warm.


Some of the kids (and dogs!) enjoyed riding around the yard in a wagon pulled by a 4 wheeler.


Our family with Grammy, my Dad’s mother.  I keep noticing, when look at this picture, that Nico only has a few inches to go until she is as tall as I am!

We all had so much fun at the family gathering!  I really had a blast playing volleyball, it had been years since I played last. When the sun went down, the party moved into the garage where there was karaoke and a Wii Bowling Tournament.

In other news, on September 1st I started running! I was inspired by an online friend who posted about a 30+ mile run she had finished.  I was in awe when considering that a Mom like me could train and push her body to move and work like that.  I also realized that I had let myself get pretty out of shape, where I wasn’t sure I could even run 5 minutes straight.  I decided right then that I wanted to at least try out running and see if I could work at it and make progress.  Back in High School, I was on the tennis team and I was able to run a mile then do sprints, so running isn’t completely foreign to me.  It has been a LONG time, though, since those days.

On day one, I didn’t make it very far or long.  I came back home and did some lunges and squats and then stretched. However, after that small workout,  I found that I felt really mellow and relaxed. I also had a burst of energy! On day two, I went out again and while I still didn’t go too far or too long, I did notice that my body was working better and I was getting into a groove.  However, the lunges from the day before did a number on my thighs and I needed to brace myself when sitting down or coming back up to stand. On day three, I bought a pair of running sneakers and hit the dirt road again.  I pushed my time and distance a bit each day and felt a sense of accomplishment when each day was at least a little bit easier. Days four, five and six of running came with rest days in between due to a busy schedule.  I learned by day three that I prefer to run as early in the day as possible.  I also learned that getting out of a sports bra can call for contortions and quite possibly the Jaws of Life. lol

This morning I finished run #7 and I am really happy that I ran about a mile, only stopping twice for a minute or two of brisk walking!  So far, running has been really good for me in more ways than just the physical.  While increasing strength and stamina was my initial goal, I am also reaping the benefits of setting goals and seeing the progress of my work. It also seems as if the daily exercise has been a mood stabilizer and increased my self esteem. While running, I feel as if I am meditating or blocking out everything except the pounding of my feet and rise and fall of my breath. It is good.  I hope to stick to running at least 5 times a week and slowly increase how long and how far I can run.

In other news, our weekly homeschool co-op started back up yesterday and it was wonderful.  It is a great group of children and a fantastic bunch of mothers. HPIM1696

Some of the children in the Cultural Studies/Geography class.


Luna paints with her buddies in the “preschool” age room.

HPIM1699 For the first Music Class, the children learn about the classification of different instruments and how they make sound.


During Gym Class, the kids got out for a good ol’ game of Kickball.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday