Sunday, October 19, 2014

He is a Man

Yesterday my son became a man. Dawson turned 18 years old. It was such a great day celebrating him and his transition from boy to man. And what did my new man want to do for his birthday?

He wanted to go to Incredible Pizza Company!!!

We all loaded up in the car and drove the two hours to the nearest Incredible Pizza. We spent the night eating and playing games. It was lots of fun!!!

Dawson wanted the entire Avatar: The Last Airbender series on dvd. We got him that and a Gamestop gift card. Oh, and a coffee mug. But there's an inside joke about that.

Taylar surprised him with an awesome headset for his XboxOne and a video game organizer.

Wesley, one of his best friends from Oklahoma came to spend the weekend with him. It was great to have one of our boys here.

I can't say enough how proud I am of the young man Dawson has become. He was such a stinker growing up (and still has a little orneriness in him) that it is just awesome to see how he has grown. It is hard for me to put into words how I feel about him. He is an awesome son and brother and we just love him so much. When Dawson was a little boy I used to always tell him that God gave him to me to bring laughter into my life. And he still does that every day. I am so proud of him and excited to see what he does in the future.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Random 5 on Friday

1. Kyndal passed both of her cosmetology state board exams! She received an 88% on the Theory and a 91% on the Practical. She is now a legit hair stylist!! I am so proud of her! This is a girl that absolutely hated school. She wasn't interested so she just didn't try to do well. Why? Because from the time she was little she knew that she wanted to be a cosmetologist and, to her, school was a colossal waste of time. It drove me absolutely nuts when she was growing up. But she has proven that once she sets a goal, she will do all it takes to achieve it. Once she started on the path to her career she gave it her all, and one year later her hard work has paid off.

2. Tomorrow we are celebrating Dawson's 18th birthday. How in the world is it that this goofy kid is now an adult? Do you know what he wants to do for his birthday? He wants our family to go to Incredible Pizza. So that's what we are doing. We are all loading up tomorrow afternoon to drive two hours to the nearest Incredible Pizza Company. One of his best friends from Oklahoma is coming to celebrate with us. It should be lots of fun!

3. We have camel crickets in our basement. They are creepy and annoying. Dawson did some research about them this week and learned that if we don't get rid of them that they will attract mice. So we set some makeshift traps and have now caught two of them. Hopefully we will be rid of them all soon. Yuck!

4. Getting a new central furnace is outside the realm of financial possibility right now. Last winter we kept warm(ish) with electric space heaters. We managed, but it was not very much fun. And, the cost of using those heaters was outrageous. Suspecting that we will have another long and miserable winter this year, we have decided to purchase and install a direct vent gas furnace. A window air conditioner in our dining room manages to keep the whole house nice and cool in the summer. So we are hoping that this furnace placed in the same room will keep the house warm enough and be more cost efficient. It is not the prettiest thing in the world, but I'll take function over fashion any day.

5. I am so glad it is the weekend! I have been so tired all week. It just doesn't feel like I can get enough sleep.We have a lot of activity planned for the weekend, but I am looking forward to a quiet night tonight and the opportunity to sleep in tomorrow morning.

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Frontier House (Prairie Primer - Little House Week 4)

As we were finishing up the last few chapters of Little House on the Prairie this week, I decided that it would be the perfect time to invest our study hours into watching my favorite mini-series Frontier House.

Frontier House was a PBS series that first aired in 2002. It is about three modern day families who took on the challenge of living as pioneers in 1883 in the Montana frontier. It was an epic exercise in survival. They had to build their own homes, manage their own money and food, decide how much livestock they would have, and then spend five months preparing for their first winter. At the end of the five months, experts came to evaluate whether the families would have survived. It is reality television at its best! I have now watched it three times, and it never gets old. If you can get ahold of a copy of it (our library has it), I highly recommend that you watch it. It really is just that good.

The series took up the majority of our study time this week, with the exception of daily CNN Student News, math (expanded notation), grammar (verbs), and personal reading. Eli finished one of the Middle School books by James Patterson and Brynne is still working through One White Dolphin by Gill Lewis.

We also did some extra reading and study about prairies, Native American housing, and the life of a Plains Indian. We read the following books:

To finish our week we watched the movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.

And that was it for us. We actually got in all of our hours this week. But they were just spent soaking in the lifestyles of the frontier life, both of the pioneers and the Native Americans.

I am hoping to get us to a prairie preserve in the next couple of weeks before yucky weather hits. If I can muster up the stamina, we will make a trip back to Oklahoma to see the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and get up close and personal with the Osage Indians at the Osage Tribal Museum. I also want to go to Kansas City to see a working fort at Missouri Town 1855. We might wait to do that until December 13th when they have their Christmas Celebration. Yeah, we need to do that.

Next week we are moving onto our four-week study of On the Banks of Plum Creek. This Prairie Primer series has been just about the best thing that has happened to this homeschooling family. It's awesome!

Validation and Justice

I got my feelings hurt this week. And it may be a similar emotion you have experienced as a mom, especially a stay-at-home homeschooling mom.

We received the Judgment in the case I have been involved in with my ex-husband for the past 16 months for child support for Kyndal and Dawson. The results of the Judgment did not upset me. The judge heard the evidence and made a determination as to what he believed was fair and just. My children will receive some much-needed support and I will get a little help in supporting Dawson for the next five years until he graduates from college. As is with any legal case, nobody won. I didn't get what I wanted and he didn't get what he wanted. It just doesn't work that way in the legal system. I was prepared for that and was prepared for less justice than I believed was deserving.

The ruling itself wasn't the reason for my hurt feelings.

I stopped working outside the home 13 years ago after Rick and I got married. I came home to take care of Kyndal and Dawson full-time and we started the next phase of our family shortly thereafter. I have been a stay-at-home mom ever since. Five years ago I also began homeschooling Dawson ... and then Brynne ... and then Eli. I plan to homeschool my younger children indefinitely, possibly until they graduate from high school.

Pretty much every waking minute of my life is devoted to my family, especially to my children. My parenting of them is a full-time job that takes much out of me. It is exhausting and stressful work. Being primarily responsible for their education is a tall order and one that I take very seriously. I didn't quit work so that I could lay around all day and eat bon bons while I watched game shows and soap operas. I rise early in the morning and go all day long until I finally collapse into bed at night. After we moved to Missouri, and left Rick in Oklahoma to work, my work increased as I am now, essentially, a single mom during the week. This means I am responsible for making sure everybody gets where they need to go. And my children want me to be present at their activities, not to just drop them off and pick them back up. I spend almost every moment that I am awake with one or more of my children, and oftentimes their friends and significant others.

I am not complaining. I absolutely would not live my life any other way. This is a path I have chosen, that Rick and I have chosen for our family. I love my family and they are my absolute priority. Nothing happens in my life that does not consider the best interest of my family first. If it is an activity that will take me away from my time with them, I do not do it. Period.

The judge in the child support case calculated how much child support my ex-husband would need to pay based on his income and my lack of income. But then he stated that because I have an education that would allow me to work, and because my husband has voluntarily supported Kyndal and Dawson for the past 13 years and there was no evidence to show that he would not do so in the future, the judge decreased that child support amount by 50%.

Basically the judge told me in the Judgment that my contribution to my children has no value. He didn't say it in as many words, but that's what he meant. If I wasn't working to make money to pay for my children, my contribution to them was worthless.

Even though the child support worksheet said otherwise, the judge believed that I (well, Rick) is responsible for 50% of their financial upbringing. There was no account for the 100% of the rest of their upbringing that I do and have always done their whole lives.

My worth as a mother was marginalized. And it hurt. I actually spent a couple of days bursting into tears at the reality of the judge's opinion.

Like his opinion (or the opinion of my ex-husband) matters.

It doesn't, and I know it doesn't. But it doesn't mean that it didn't hurt.

Have you ever felt invalidated for what you do for your family, for your children? 

God called me to come home to my family full time 13 years ago. He called me to homeschool my children when they were struggling. He calls me to make my family my primary ministry and my absolute priority.

To Him, what I am doing matters. To Him, I have worth. To Him, I have value. And I know that He is not the only one who feels that way. My husband believes in me and what I do. My children are grateful that they are an obvious priority in my life.

It feels good to have your 20 year old daughter come up to you and give you a big hug and kiss on the cheek and tell you that she loves you ... that you are a good mom. It feels good to have your 18 year old son say, "Mom, you know you're my best friend, right?", and know he really means it. It feels good to receive constants hugs and "I love yous" from your 10 and 9 year olds when you have made them do schoolwork all day.

I am a blessed woman ..... and wife ..... and mother. I have value. I have worth. And the heck with those who try to make me feel otherwise.

I mentioned that I did not feel that justice was served in the way I thought it should be. 

It's funny that this issue of justice would come up this week in this way as the Sunday School lesson I taught my 4th-6th graders on Sunday was on this exact topic.

Throughout this entire case I have relied on God and trusted Him to put forth the Judgment that He felt was right and just. David said to God, "Establish justice for me, Lord, because I have walked with integrity. I've trusted the Lord without wavering." ~ Psalm 26:1.

I talked with my students about how so many times in our lives we want to be the ones to hand down justice ... that when justice doesn't come in the form that we think it should, we are angry and disappointed and try to take matters into our own hands.

God will establish justice for us (in His way) if we walk with integrity and if we trust Him in his ways without wavering. I have reminded myself of this all week. What my flesh has wanted to do, I haven't done. Instead, I have spent some time in quiet meditation and prayer and just reminded my heart to trust God, that His justice will prevail. And this has calmed me.

I almost didn't post anything about my feelings but decided that I needed to share with you how I am continually walking a Journey to Excellence. This blog is not just about our educational pursuits. It is about how my family pursues Excellence in everything we do. And students are not limited to those between the ages of 5 and 17. We are never too old to learn. Remember, our Journey is not about perfection. We fail, and we fail miserably. But we have a heart for Excellence. I have a heart for Excellence. And it is a constant Journey.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

What's your favorite time of day? Why?

I am someone who needs alone time. So at about 8:30 p.m., when everybody goes to their own rooms, I am able to just sit and watch the t.v. shows that I want to watch, read, look at blogs, and do whatever I want to do for a little while before going to bed. It is my wind-down time and I cherish it.

Waffle iron, toaster, coffee maker, mixer, blender ... which small appliance would you say most needs replacing in your house?

My microwave decides to just not allow you to push certain numbers, usually the 0 or 1. There is no rhyme or reason to the problem. It just decides that today is the day. So sometimes I have to get creative in punching in a time, like 75 seconds for 1 minute 15 seconds, etc. It stretches my math skills! Then later that day or the next the buttons will start working again. But overall the microwave still works so I will hold onto it until it poops out.

It's National Grouch Day (October 15) ... what's something that makes you feel grouchy?

Disorder. I am not particularly organized, but I cannot stand when my house is disorderly. I like my piles to be neatly stacked. I need things in their place (for the most part). As you read last week I cannot deal with my couch pillows being on the floor, and they are knocked off at least 50 times a day by dogs and kids. Chaos makes me grouchy in an instant. If I walk in the door after being gone for a while and there are things here and there strewn around the house (papers, pencils, shoes, dirty dishes), I feel my blood pressure rise. A quick pickup and I am back to feeling peaceful.

Ever been to Canada? Is that a country you'd like to visit? According to Trip Advisor the top ten best destinations in Canada are -- Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Victoria, Calgary, Niagara on the Lake, Niagara Falls, Whistler, and Halifax. Which city would you most like to see?

I have never been to Canada and I do think I would like to go sometime. Canadians seem so patriotic to their country. I know it has its problems like everywhere else, but it just seems peaceful to me. Plus I love snow! I don't know much about any of the cities mentioned but Niagara on the Lake sounded like someplace I would love. I looked it up on Google and realized that I would LOVE to visit there. It looks so quaint and sweet.

What was your favorite food (or one of your favorites) when you were a child? Is that still a favorite?

I loved the tuna casserole my mom made for us as kids. It was simply a box of macaroni and cheese, a can of tuna, and a can of peas. My dad didn't like it so I can always remember my mom making a big pot of it during the week that he went deer hunting. My kids don't like it, but I still do. Every once in a while I just need to make myself some. Yum!

Do you cry easily?

Man, I used to. I could bring on the waterworks in a nanosecond. Commercials made me cry. Songs made me cry. Even someone winning on The Price is Right made me cry. I think the world has hardened me. I don't cry easily anymore, usually only when I am mad.

Have you started your (gasp) Christmas shopping? If so when, and how much? If not, when will you even begin thinking about it?

Oh, I think about it all the time. I think about how we don't have even one penny saved for Christmas gifts this year. Every spare penny has gone toward attorney fees in the child support case. Honestly, I am not sure where the money will come from this year. I have a list of what I want to get most of the kids, and Rick. But I haven't bought anything yet. And I am not sure when I will start.

Insert your own random thought here.

The Judgment was entered in the child support case. Neither party won. Neither party ever does. It was a fair Order for all involved. We ultimately achieved what we needed to achieve. The kids will get some needed support. And Rick will continue to fill in the gaps as he has always done (love that man!). It sucks that so much money was spent to come to the conclusion I offered before we even had to result to going to court. But in the end our family came out of this with strong and lasting relationships. In fact, we are closer than we have ever been. We are excited to move on with our future plans without even having to think about any of those issues ever again. We have a wedding and high school graduation coming up. Life is good!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ More Busy (Prairie Primer - Little House Week 3)

I think I start every wrap-up post these days talking about how busy the week has been. And not just in school but in our every day life, as well. But it is all good .. so good. School work is getting done. Learning is happening. We are having fun. Rick and I are accomplishing much at home. And we are getting to spend lots of time with family and friends.

So I have a question: Should watching Little House on the Prairie count as school hours? Sometimes I feel guilty that we relax at the end of each day with an episode. How can enjoying something this much count as school? (Isn't homeschooling great?) But, oh my gosh, the things that we learn while watching it! This week we learned all about Typhus. I had never heard of it. So we paused the show and did some quick internet research before we continued watching. Sure enough, the storyline covered all of the different symptoms and causes. It was so informative!

Just in a week we have learned about simple machines, molding a bell, and loads of character lessons. Yes, watching these episodes is most definitely school. And having had kids in public school, I know that they watch an inordinate amount of movies. Many times I can't begin to figure out what they actually have to do with their lessons.

Little House isn't the only video we watch. God love Netflix and Youtube. This week we watched a video called Westward Expansion: Crash Course US History #24, Journey of the Osage and Parts 3 and 4 of History of Native American Indians, Documentary. (And this coming week we are going to be watching one of my favorite mini-series on video. This will be the third time I have watched it! I'll tell you about it in the next wrap-up.)

We devoted much of our week this week to learning about the Native Americans of the late 1800's, specifically the Osage Indians and Plains Indians. We read Buffalo by Beverly Brodsky and learned about homes, clothing, and religions of the Osage Indians. We also read The Osage by Janet Riehecky.

Some fun stuff we did included leaf rubbings ...

and "beaded" Native American necklaces. I got the idea from HERE, but we just colored popsicle sticks and hot glued them together.

We not only learned about typhus, but also learned a lot about malaria (plaguing the pioneers of the late 1800's) and ebola (getting ready to plague us).

I mentioned character lessons. In one of our days of reading Little House on the Prairie, Ma reprimanded Laura for "contradicting". We had a long talk about that because Brynne is a big contradictor. She will often contradict something someone says, especially Eli. I ask her to stop, that it is not kind, and she almost always says, "but I'm just saying." I always respond with "Well, don't just say." It is amazing how reading about this in the books has made her really understand how wrong it is to contradict others.

On Wednesday we scrapped our morning lessons to head to the park. It was 66 degrees and sunny with no wind. The weather was predicted to turn ugly beginning Thursday (and it did) so we knew this would be our last good day at the park. And a good day it was.

We came back home and watched CNN Student News (I know I have mentioned this more than once, but my kids beg me to watch this every day), read our chapters out of Little House on the Prairie, did our math and grammar assignments, read for 30 minutes and then watched an episode of Little House.

Wednesday night we went to a nearby town to see an interactive concert put on by Jennifer Daniels, the assistant to Eric Litwin who wrote the Pete the Cat books. Now I have to admit that the show was geared more toward preschoolers and early elementary students. Eli couldn't bring himself to appear to enjoy it. But Brynne got in on the action, even going up on stage with other kids to perform, and had a good time. I enjoyed it. It had a Laurie Berkner feel to it and it was fun to see the little kids singing, dancing, and yelling out familiar lines from the Pete the Cat books. I explained to Eli that it's good for him to be involved in programs that are both above and below his age range. I'm not sure I convinced him, but it was time well spent. Any time with my kids is time well spent.

On the way home we saw the remains of the blood moon. It was low in the sky, huge, and a pretty orange. The kids had me pull over so we could look at it for a while and take a picture.

This week the kids also started their new Nutrition class at the library. I wasn't able to go with them this week, but they came home and reported having a great time! They learned about pancakes! Apparently they read a great book, played a memory game, and sampled some pancakes. Little did they know that we were having pancakes and bacon for dinner that night.

Rick got to come home a day early this week, too! We got up Friday morning to attend the elementary school's homecoming pep rally. Brynne was able to join her volleyball team at the pep rally. We are blessed that our local school allows homeschool students to participate in school sports and activities. We are always welcomed with open arms. It's great for Brynne to get to spend time with her friends doing the things she loves.

We didn't put in a full day, but we did finish up our math lessons for the week and our Little House on the Prairie chapters. Oh, and we introduced daddy to Carl Azuz on CNN Student News. I think he was pretty impressed with how we are learning current events, especially since before we started watching this I was completely clueless as to what was going on in our world. Ignorance is bliss!

Over the weekend Rick and I finally switched bedrooms with Eli. We moved furniture and switched out our closets and seasonal clothes. It was a big job! Next week Rick is bringing our king-size bed and furniture from Tulsa so that we can have it to sleep on here. I am so excited! That bed is like sleeping on a cloud straight from Heaven. When Rick is home he and I share our queen-size bed with two of the dogs. And it's pretty uncomfortable. Some nights the dogs kick Rick to the couch because they are used to sleeping on his side of the bed during the week. It is crazy what a huge difference this small thing will make. Yay!!

I just really enjoyed this whole weekend. My favorite weekends are the ones where we get things accomplished, and get to spend lots of time together. We had dinner as a family every night, got our groceries, and ran some errands. We watched some movies and got caught up on some t.v. shows. I even got in a couple of little cat naps this afternoon. It was just great! I am grateful for a close family.

On Friday Kyndal passed the first part of her state cosmetology boards, the theory exam. In the morning she is taking the practical exam. Once she passes this part of the exam she will receive her permanent license. I am so proud of her! She is loving her new salon and doing great work. On Friday she did the hair of the crowned homecoming princess and on Saturday she did hair for her first wedding party. Collin is an ironworker and has been working about 70 hours a week the past couple of weeks so Kyndal has been spending some extra time with us. It is so fun to see my older kids becoming adults.

Packed up supplies for her practical exam.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Random 5 on Friday

1. Rick, Brynne and I were up early this morning to attend the elementary school homecoming pep rally. Brynne was invited to join her volleyball team. I am grateful that the school offers to include its homeschooled students in their activities. Brynne and her friend Jenna are always welcomed with open arms, which is awesome.

2. Kyndal is, as I type this, taking her cosmetology theory exam. She is so nervous, but I am sure she will do fine. She takes her practical exam on Monday. After she passes both she will have her full cosmetology license. She has been working with her temporary license the past couple of weeks. UPDATE: She passed her theory! Now she just has to pass her practical on Monday. Half-way there!

3. Also, as I type this, my niece, Rylee, is having an ultrasound. She is 35 weeks pregnant and barely measuring 28 centimeters. This diagnostic ultrasound will determine if she can continue to carry the baby to full term or if they will need to take her early because of failure to thrive. UPDATE: Rylee is 34 weeks 6 days, and the baby measured at 34 weeks 1 day. So far they believe she weighs about 5 lbs. 6 ozs. All of Rylee's fluids are good.

4. I am anxiously awaiting the results of the Judgment in my child support case. The Judgment has been issued but we won't know what it says until it is mailed to my attorney. UPDATE: So far what I have seen on the online docket sheet has been good news!! Waiting for the final judgment. Should have it early next week.

5. It is a cold, rainy day here in Missouri. It looks like the homecoming parade will be cancelled. Even if it's not, I think Brynne is going to opt out of riding with her volleyball team. It's definitely a sweatpants and blanket kind of day. I have beef cooking in the crockpot for some beef and noodles for dinner tonight. Fall is definitely here!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Do you manage your own money or do you have a financial planner who helps in some way? Do those kinds of conversations stress you out? A lot or a little?

We do not have a financial planner. Rick is our planner. Or, I plan and he finds a way to put it into our budget. I hate talking about money. There is never enough and I always feel like I am not handling my part as good as I should. I try not to worry about it and remind myself that it's just money. I am frugal and do my best.

The second week of October is Pet Peeve Week. Off the top of your head share TWO of your current pet peeves.

My number one pet peeve is my pillows being knocked off my couch onto the floor. Between dogs and kids I bet I pick up those pillows 50 times a day. My second is when homeschooling moms use bad grammar in their blog posts.

What is one thing you would like to learn right now, this very week if you could?

I would like to learn what the Court's order says in my child support case. I saw on the online docket sheet yesterday afternoon that the Family Court Commissioner has issued his Recommendations and Findings and it has been presented to the Family Court Judge for approval. Now I just have to wait for the signed Judgment and the snail mail system to get it to my attorney.

How concerned are you about the recent health related news concerning Ebola? How about Enterovirus D68?

To be honest, I am very concerned. I think we are in some big trouble as a country because of the exposure issue. There is honestly no telling how many hundreds, if not thousands, of people have been exposed to Ebola by the negligence of just one person. The only way to prevent the spreading of this disease is for people who have been exposed to quarantine themselves from any exposure to any other person. Armed guards should not have to be posted outside someone's home to keep them from voluntarily exposing themselves to others. The same is true of the Enterovirus D68, but on a less serious scale. The Enterovirus is, in fact, a virus that can only be spread by exposure to others. Don't send your kids to school when they are sick. Don't go to work if you are sick. Absolutely do not go onto an airplane if you have been exposed, and for the love of God do not enter a country where there has been no exposure and be the one to expose it. If just one other person starts to show signs of Ebola, I think it is going to get completely out of control.

Garfield, Nemo, or Tigger -- your favorite orange cartoon character?

Definitely Garfield. I hate Mondays! But, I love lasagna!

I'm going to see Gone Girl with my neighborhood book club this week. So often books made into film are disappointing. What's a book turned film you thought was well done, in that the casting was 'like you pictured' when you read the book, and the film plot remained mostly true to the book plot?

I can think of a couple. First, from a long time ago, The Pelican Brief starring Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington. I didn't really picture Denzel, but the entire time I was reading it I had Julia Roberts in my mind as the lead character. I thought the movie was very well done. Recently, I think that The Help was a great adaptation of the book. The movie would have had to have been about 6 hours long to develop the entire racial storyline going on at the time, but what was depicted in the movie was very accurate to the book. One last one .. I thought Water for Elephants was also very well done.

What is the one story your family always tells about you?

Oh gosh. When I was a senior in high school my family took a family vacation to Virginia where I was born. In fact, it was the only family vacation we ever took. There were numerous comedies of error on that trip, many stories about all of us, but the one about me had to do with our day trip to Washington, D.C. I had a new outfit. I can see it now. It was a red turtleneck with a gold cardigan sweater with a medallion-like patch on the left breast. I wore it with tight-rolled jeans and slouch socks and my brand new tan suede boots. (And my bangs were a perfect 4 inches high.) We were in D.C. the week of Christmas. Yes, in Washington, D.C., in the middle of winter. And I wouldn't wear a coat. Because my coat did not match my outfit. We walked about 962 miles that day in my brand new boots. And did I mention I didn't have a coat? I finally whined enough that my mom let me have her gloves. But still no coat. And my boots were killing my feet, most specifically my right heel. I ended up pulling my achilles tendon and bruising my heel and it took well over a year before I could walk normally again. Oh, the 80's.

Insert your own random thought here.

Dawson's shattered screen on his iPhone has been replaced (from his senior picture debacle). We used a service called iCracked. I highly recommend them for your cell phone screen issues. Now, the tech did mess up the phone at first try and we thought Dawson's phone might be ruined. But iCracked has a guarantee. So if his phone would have been inoperable, they would have given him a new phone. The tech we used was very nice and drove the 30 miles to our house last night to fix Dawson's phone. He even gave him a $10 discount off the originally quoted price for the screen repair (yes, he paid for the repairs himself). If there is not a contract tech in your area you can mail in your phone to them for repair. I was impressed with their customer service, even if there was a bit of a hassle. All's well that ends well. And I have a happy teenager again. Isn't that what it's really all about?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ {Prairie Primer: Little House Week 2}

Last week was an on again / off again week. We had school on Monday and Tuesday, took a day off on Wednesday while I went to court for my child support case (for Kyndal and Dawson), had school on Thursday, and then took off on Friday because Rick was able to come home a day early. We hadn't seen him in almost three weeks and I felt that it would be totally cruel to make the kids do school work instead of spending quality time with their daddy.

We were able to complete all of our regular daily lessons. In math we learned about the area of a trapezoid. In grammar we continued learning about the who-which clause. The kids continued to do their personal reading with Brynne reading One White Dolphin and Eli reading Middle School: Get Me Out of Here!. Our Bible lessons had us learning about Nehemiah rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem.

We did accumulate a couple of school hours over the weekend, as well. The family went to see Dolphin Tale 2 on Friday night. And since we just finished a set of lessons on dolphins, you can bet we counted that as school. On Sunday morning I counted our Sunday school class as schoolwork as our lessons had us actually doing some Biblical math! Then in the afternoon Rick, Eli and Brynne got in some P.E. with volleyball practice and a big game of tag.

Our Prairie Primer lessons had us reading Chapters 7-13 in Little House on the Prairie. We also watched 3 more episodes from Season 1.

We learned about wolves. We started out watching a Youtube video called The Wolves. Then we read all about wolves on National Geographic Kids. We ended our time making a wolf craft. The kids used this template and then colored their own habitat.

We also studied about mosquitoes. We started by reading the book Mosquitoes by Jonathan Kravitz. Then the kids watched a life cycle video on Youtube and an educational video about malaria.

We finished our week learning about the layers of the Sun and doing a neat activity from The Wise Nest.

Also over the weekend Dawson had his senior pictures taken. He had a fantastic photographer who really captured the real Dawson. His photos included his '78 Cadillac, his dog, his girlfriend, Spiderman and video games. Here are some previews we just received. My son is handsome!

The bummer of the day was when we realized, right at the end of the photo shoot, that Dawson had put his Cadi keys and iPhone on top of my car when we were at the first location. Of course we had driven all over town by that time. We went back and found his keys but no phone. He was so upset (rightfully so)! Thankfully some kids who were hanging out at the park had been walking and found it up the street, but it had been run over and the screen shattered. The phone still works and he was able to find someone to replace the screen for about $100. That's certainly better than $400 or so for a new phone. It was a crushing blow at the time, especially after the fun he had getting his photos taken.

This week we will be back on track with a five-day work week. And we are certainly hoping for a little less drama.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Random 5 on Friday ~ Celebration Edition

1. We celebrated my dad's 65th birthday last night with dinner at my parents'. We all gathered as a family to celebrate our dad and to spend time together. Things are crazy busy with my whole family right now as my sister just bought her first house, my niece is preparing to have her baby, and my parents are heading to Florida. It was nice just to get together for some food and fun. My dad really seemed to enjoy it.

2. I am personally celebrating the conclusion of my child support case with my ex-husband. It is now in the hands of the judge and I trust that it will all work out in the best interest of Kyndal and Dawson. It's been a long road and our whole family is so glad this is over. We can all move on with our lives now.

3. Last night Eli and Brynne were celebrating their daddy coming home one day early this week by waiting up for him to get home just shy of midnight. I can't say I had the same stamina.

4. I did it! I finished all three seasons of Revenge on Netflix! That is definitely cause to celebrate. I can now get back to cleaning my house. I am all caught up and can start watching season 4 with the rest of the world (just one episode a week instead of 8 or 9 a day). Season three ended with a bang!

5. And the ultimate celebration this week? Kyndal and Collin got their engagements photos taken and the Save-the-Dates are ordered. Here are just a few of our favorite shots. Beautiful!