A Quick Trip Home

When I think of home, I think of my husband’s childhood home back in our hometown. His family moved into the house when he was in middle school. I love waking up in his old room. I should add here that shortly after my husband and I got married, my mother-in-law redecorated my husband’s and his brother’s old bedrooms. I’m fairly certain she did this so I, Atlantis, and future grandchildren would feel more comfortable and welcome in her house. The reason I’m certain of this is because she asked for and then used my all of my opinions on how to decorate the rooms. Now that I have known her longer, I realize the colors I picked out are some of her least favorite. My husband’s old room is for grown ups and his brother’s old room is set up for the kids. So, to set the seen for you at waking up in my mother-in-laws house…

The house is located on the Little River (actual name of the river) which¬†whines¬†through our little hometown. On the other side of the river is farm land and the river’s bank has several large, old trees. As I wake up in the morning the sunlight dances through the lace curtains in only the way light can dance off water and through lush tree leaves. I’m in a room that has been loving decorated to make me comfortable by the sweetest women in the world. The lace curtains came over with my husband’s family from Germany. Although we didn’t know each other at the time, my husband and I grew up in the same area of Germany, so the curtains add another touch of sentimental value. If I look out the window, I see the back yard and the river. If I stand up, I can see over the trees to the acres of farm land. If it’s a Saturday, my mother-in-law has been up for a few hours before my kids, my husband, or I decide to climb out of bed and we will do so to the smells of her making breakfast. Maybe it’s becoming clear to you exactly why I think of this when I think about home.

This trip only lasted 4 short days, but we were able to pack plenty into that time. Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley are not far away, along with Ft. Campbell Army base, Nashville, a zillion caves, and a ton of fun (and educational) things to do. We spent a day at the lakes and a day on Ft. Campbell.

The view from the pic-nic shelter where we stopped to eat lunch

The recycled glass counter top inside the planetarium. The planetarium at the lakes runs shows for only $2 a person on the hour, every hour. Because of it’s rural location and frequency of shows, it’s very easy to be the only ones in the¬†auditorium¬†for a show. When this has happened in the past, the person giving the show has always asked if there is any certain show we would like to see. He is also¬†extremely¬†happy to answer any and every question I’ve seen the many kids through the years throw at him. I’m not sure if there is more than one person that runs the projector, but it has always been the same man when I have gone.

Daffodils also known as buttercups to many Kentuckians. We picked these on the way home for both grandmas.

A creek the girls played in and got water for the daffodils from.

A photo I snapped on the way back from the lakes. If you look into the water, you can see a little crescent shaped island. As a kid, my dad would take me camping on that island. We would head out on a little boat and set up camp for a night or weekend.

At the lakes we also went through the¬†antelope and bison reserve. We went just after lunch time, which we already knew to be the worst time of day to go. The best times are morning and dusk. Animals sleep during the warmest parts of the day¬†and head to the areas of the reserve that humans can’t see. So we were only able to a few antelope and they just weren’t in good spots to get a good photo of. We saw many horse back riders at the lake and had to promise Petra that on our next trip to Kentucky she would get to ride. John has actually never been riding. Not exactly sure how one grows up in Kentucky and never rides a horse, but somehow it happened.

John’s father worked on helicopters when he was in the Army, so no trip to Ft. Campbell would be ¬†complete without viewing at least a few air craft.

This amazing drawing Atlantis did is of a friend that she has known for many, many years. The friend lives a few houses down from John’s mom.

All of us began this month with some icky respiratory crude which quickly turned into pneumonia and RSV for Troy, Bronchitis for John and me, and a sinus infection for Petra and me. The warm southern air was just what we all needed to clear out the last bits of what was lingering in our lungs.

 

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Moon Phases With Cookies

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Science is my favorite subject, but it generally requires a mommy that is not on bed rest to¬†execute¬†properly. So, our science projects these days have been few and far between and have all been very simple and easy to do. My plan is to put science on a back burner until summer. Then, after the new baby comes and I can get out of bed, we will being tackling this year’s science. However, this is a project that ¬†can be handled from my easy chair and done mostly without my help.

It’s a given that if bribed with sweets, you can get kids to do just about anything. So, this is a science lesson that has been done many, many times by many, many teachers both at home and in traditional school settings. My kids are gluten free, so they only see these kind of cookies maybe once every year or two.

We started our lesson by going over the phases of the moon. There are several sites online you can do this with. We used this one by gwit.org. I couldn’t get the intro video to work, but the site has several other interesting facts and little demos about the moon. It even has a spot to type in your weight to see what you weigh on the moon.

I started by drawing 8 circles in a circular pattern then labeled the small circles with the 8 phases of the moon shown on the site. I used the lid to a gatorade bottle to draw the circles. Gluten free sandwich cookies are generally a little smaller than their original counterparts, but the gatorade bottle lid was the perfect size for us. The girls used a case knife to pry open the cookies and then scrape and spred the cream in the desired positions. They looked at the chart on the above site to see the order and how much of the moon was showing in each phase. Then, they put the cookies in order. After they were done, they got to eat the cookies. Finally, they used their papers to draw in the moon phases.

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Bed Rest Changes Things

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Surprisingly, I am actually finding stuff to keep me busy while¬†on bed rest. However, I have deep routed desires to get out of the house. I’m not on total bed rest. I am allowed to sit up with my feet up, and probably do so more than I should. I do get out every once in while, mostly to church and¬†occasionally¬†a dinner. I have made 2 very short trips to the craft store, hence the reason I have a few things to keep me busy.¬†There have been many changes in our house hold to¬†accommodate¬†the rest of the family and myself while I spend so much time laying down. We are normally a very green,¬†cloth diapering, healthy food eating type of family. Since a lot of the cooking, cleaning and laundry have fallen onto John and Atlantis, we have more throw away items and more fast food. We have paper towels for the first time in years and Troy is in disposables. I have to continuously remind myself that I can’t expect my family to do things the way I would do them,¬†Especially¬†with items such as cleaning and cooking.

School in this season of our lives looks a bit different also. I’m focusing on language arts and math (that really hasn’t changed). Our multiple times a week field trips are totally gone for a while though, along with play dates, my coffee Mondays with other moms, extra curricular activities and the two homeschool groups we joined this year. I have decided to put science on hold until our new little bundle arrives. History is done mostly through videos right now and we haven’t been doing to many projects to go along with them, just worksheets. Instead of using the table to work with¬†manipulatives, Petra uses ¬†a tray on my bed. She actually seems to think this last one is kind of cool. The kids are in charge of what they do for art and P.E. Previously we have¬†always tried to be done with school work by around 4 or 4:30. Now we do it at any time I feel up for it, even if that means we are making fraction pizzas on my bed at 10 p.m.

We have also had to move things around a bit. It was to challenging keeping Troy out of all the homeschool stuff while it was in our one large main room. It is now all in the master bedroom so little fingers will leave it alone. We also invested in a few more organizational items so I can tell the kids exactly where to get items. Our¬†furniture¬†in the main room has been moved around so I can keep a better eye on Mr. Mischievous when I’m in the living room.

Lately we have started hosting a few more things than usual at our house. The thought is that if I can’t get out, then we will just have to have people in. It’s been fun. We have one set of friends that is at our house at least once a week and often more. This has been a huge blessing to me. They haven’t told me, but I know this is a¬†conscious¬†choice on their part. Since meeting them a couple of years ago, they have always been very busy people.

My children are learning things through this that I would have never even thought threw exactly how to teach them.

They are learning compassion and how to truly be helpful. I need so much help right now and they are the ones providing most of that help. Atlantis is the main cook for the house right now. Through the week she makes sure everyone has breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks. Petra is usually my go get’er. She fetches nearly everything I could possibly need from books to bottles of water. This is on top of keeping up with school work and chasing after Troy all day.

They are learning the¬†importance of¬†seizing¬†the moment. More and more often lately, I feel like the walking dead. However, sometimes I feel almost normal. At those time we try to do something a little more fun. Within the confines of my bed rest rules that is. Today, John took me out for breakfast then this afternoon he drove us all to the park and I watched the kids play as I sat in car. This may not seem like much, but when doctors orders keep you confined to the only the ground floor of 1800 square foot townhouse, any excursion, even ones where you don’t leave the car, are exciting.

They are learning how to work together. It takes real team work for the girls to keep an eye on Troy and get a gluten free lunch or dinner ready. It also takes a tremendous amount of effort and teamwork to keep little Troy entertained while school work gets done.

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Hearing Impaired Homeschooling Mishap

Recently Troy got a hold of Atlantis’ hearing aid, ripped it into 2 pieces and lost part of it (luckily it was the cheaper part). The kids were upstairs and I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but it happened. Not having her hearing aid makes life and school a pinch harder for Atlantis. Without it she must be looking exactly at your lips to really understand what someone is saying. Her speech is also difficult to understand when her hearing aid is out. I really didn’t realize how difficult her speech was to understand until she began wearing the hearing aid. It has made a huge change in how she pronounces words and her spelling ability has improved leaps and bounds. It makes perfect¬†sense; being able to hear how a word is formed is a key part in pronouncing and spelling it properly.

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