Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The outside world

I am not really a people person. I like my little bubble. There are very few people I'm willing to leave my bubble for, and even fewer who are allowed inside my bubble.

For some reason, people feel that keeping my kids inside this bubble is mean. I'm not sure why I should care what people think, since I don't even like many of them, but I suppose it's only fair to give the kids the chance to complain about people other than me. And each other. So I took them out to "socialize" today.

They sell lunch at the clubhouse in our development. I'm pretty sure "they" is the social committee. I can't say for certain, since I only work on a committee that people never want to deal with, which works out well for a non-people-person like myself. Anyway, we've never had lunch at the clubhouse in the 4 years we've lived here. The reason should be obvious. So I never knew that I could drive a mile down the road and feed 4 kids and myself for a grand total of $6.50, with no dishes to wash!

While we were there, I finally introduced myself and the kids to our development's homeschool group. Yup, we've been living here for 4 years, homeschooling for 2+, and I just introduced myself today. And guess what. I didn't immediately not like them. This is progress.

Perhaps my bubble is a bit too restrictive. I think I might be able to convince myself to leave it a little more often. Especially when cheap lunch is involved.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What's fair is fair

The big kids have been off doing various wonderful things with different relatives while poor little C gets stuck with boring Mom and Dad. Our big trip today was going to be to a farmer's market we haven't checked out yet. Until we found out that it will be next week.

So I found myself suggesting we go to the fair.

I am officially old. A couple of hours at the fair has completely exhausted me. My feet hurt. My stomach hurts. And I loved the band that was playing. They're called Midlife Crisis. Sigh.

But C seemed to have a good time. We may need to cut back a bit on the cartoons though. While walking through the livestock exhibits, my darling 2yo looked at the animals and said "Hi! I'm C. How are you?", as though expecting a response.
To be fair, these animals were so purdy they were nearly cartoon-like!

I was hoping to accomplish so much more today, but there's just no energy left in me. We're starting back up with school work tomorrow. It would have been nice to have a fresh start in a clean, organized house. Maybe next year!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Many homeschoolers tend to fret about creating gaps in their child's education. What if we forget to teach the history of Denmark? Or if we accidentally skip the battery circuit experiment?

Blah. Public schooled kids have gaps. For instance, I was taught that the world began with Christopher Columbus and any war that America wasn't involved in had no relevance. I was also taught that french fries were part of a balanced meal, but we were never graded on Lunch, so I guess that's no big deal.

One of my goals as a homeschool parent (because I have like 214) is to give my kids an education that is as gap-free as reasonably possible. So we do things like compare the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms of Egypt and recite poetry they don't understand. But something has to give. So here are the things I've forgotten to teach them.

1. The definition of "away" isn't "under your bed".
2. "Something smells" means "something smells BAD".
3. It's not okay to pee on the cat (even if it is funny).
4. Privates must be completely covered in public.
5. Bandaids are for boo-boos. They are not temporary tattoos.
6. 5 squares are plenty (most of the time). And an entire roll won't flush.
7. Strangers don't want to hear your life story. Especially the embarrasing parts about Mommy.
8. Shale driveways are not meant to be swept clear so you can dribble a basketball.
9. The "Look both ways before you cross the street. Use your eyes, ears, and then you use your feet" chant has motions to go along with it.
10.How to cover your tracks.

Number 10 is a good one though. Yes, I do recognize the handwriting on my Sharpie'd mattress. I do not know where they picked up the whole "X was here" idea. I'm too upset to care now that I know my child is stupid enough to use their own name.

Perhaps we should write a poem about it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pleasant Acres

As J gets ready to turn the big 1-1, I find myself reminiscing. I gave my parents hell as a tween and young teen.
Fortunately, it wasn't a rehab/juvie/bootcamp/she-has-no-future-type hell. That would come later. But attitude and emotion wise? Hell.

And yet, despite the "I hate you"s and "You never let me do anything"s and "My life sucks so hard"s, my parents gave me an amazing childhood.

We were a camping family. Camping, as in flushing toilets, showers and electricity, for the most part. Something like this:Of course, now the norm looks more like this:

For more than a dozen years, we would spend our weekends at "The Campground" from May to June and September to October, and the entire months of July and August.

My friends and I could navigate our way through thick woods by age 8 and build the perfect campfire before age 10. We could pitch a 3-person tent in 10 minutes and then squeeze 6 little girls in for a slumber party. My sisters and I could pack a station wagon with 2 months of supplies for a family of 5 in 30 minutes and do it RIGHT, so that all of the immediate-needs items could be unpacked in 10, and we could run off to find our Campground friends.

We knew how to bait a hook, fix a bike chain, cook over an open fire, walk a dead tree to cross a brook, tip a cow, sheer a sheep, make pancakes for 15, cook mountain pies for any meal AND dessert, carve initials in trees, smoke a cigarette without getting caught OR burning down the woods, and stretch an 11pm curfew to 11:35 without getting grounded.

This is where I met my best friends, got my first and worst skinned knees, my first kiss and my first broken heart, learned to appreciate the scent of moth balls, danced the Electric Slide and the Virginia Reel, played Rummikube with Grandma, and drove Grandpa's car.

The Campground was my life.

Last night, the husband and I took the maniacs out to see where Mommy grew up. I was a little nervous about taking them. They know nothing of campground etiquette, and they are definitely not accustomed to doing a lot of walking. Nor are they used to open fire pits or goats that "nibble". I was a bit of a nervous wreck, suddenly seeing danger everywhere.

They LOVED it!
In little more than 4 hours, we managed to squeeze in a tour of all the animal pens (goats, turkeys, geese, horses, cows, and sheep), time on the playground, dinner, a peek at my old campsite, a great big campfire, and way too many s'mores. And I forgot to bring a real camera.

It was so cool to see my kids being, well, ME!

All morning, they've been asking when we'll take them back. I think it's time to start shopping for a starter trailer.