Monday, August 17, 2009

Staycation: The Weekend

Saturday's Activities:

1. Breakfast was cereal and bananas. And then we turned right 'round and gave the kids their peanut butter sandwiches in the car at about 10:30. I guess Paul thought they were hungry, and the kids certainly didn't turn down the offer of food! So, it was a weird food day...oh, well.

2. Drove downtown. The plan was to see the Kinders (for the third time this summer) at Main Library, but we left too late. Rats! By the way, they are a precious, sweet couple. Been fans since Noah was a toddler. And they put on a great show each and every time. We are never disappointed.

3. The next thing on the agenda was to visit the Clinton Presidential Library. We had not had an opportunity to do so (EVER!), and today presented a PERFECT scenario, considering they were celebrating President Clinton's birthday and admission was FREE all day! Woo hoo! Did somebody say "FREE"?? It really was the best day for us to go (even though it was crowded), since going places with VERY small children like ours is always a risk. Things can go wrong, you know? Like someone could dirty all the diapers you brought, or someone could have an emotional meltdown, or someone could cause too many problems and need to be disciplined. Sometimes events get cut short. I'm sure you understand. That said, I would have hated to pay full price admission for something like that and then have to leave early. PLUS it wasn't exactly like Paul or I read (or even glanced at) each and every item on display. Little kids can't stand in one place for longer than...I don't know...5 seconds?! We were B-L-O-W-I-N-G through there faster than our toast and sandwich-eatin' family can blow through a loaf of bread (and that's pri-tee fast, people)!!!

We especially liked the authentic replicas of the Oval Office...

and the Cabinet Room. Just look at our future Presidents! (Noah is Vice.)

Which one do you think will be MOST prepared for the countless photo and publicity ops on the campaign trail?

A bonus at the library was that it was the last day of the "Moon to Mars" space exhibit. We got to see real life pieces of spacecrafts, astronaut food, and even experienced a little weightlessness in a tilted room. (Boy, those are soooooo weird.) Noah was pretty doggone fascinated.

What'cha lookin' at, Gabe?


They had a couple spacey-type attractions to try out, but there were height and weight restrictions (and waivers to sign). Wee little ones need not apply.

We also went to a little science class deal where they talked about "observation" and did a handful of science experiments to "wow" the kiddos. Paul and I were quite bored. They were all things you'd see in any typical elementary science classroom.

The pics of the other 3 watching didn't turn out, but Atticus looked on as well as anybody (with snacks in hand).

After we had toured the entire library (as best we could), they served birthday cake and punch on the patio. Happy birthday, Bill! We decided we'd have to do this every year, because our family should NEVER pay for something when we can go for free AND get a piece of cake. And by going and seeing a little bit each year, maybe by the time Noah turns, um...EIGHTEEN! we will have seen most of the important things to see about President Clinton's time in office. Maybe.

SOMEbody's sick of taking photos. And his initials are..."Noah."

The fountains were quite intriguing, of course. So--both going and coming--we spent a significant amount of time staring at, touching, and generally just being in awe of the water.

4. Our return home had a lulling effect, despite the crunching and munching of crackery snacks by the bigger three kids. Atticus and I were nodding off somethin' awful. In fact, Atticus conked completely out, but then woke up once we got him inside the house . (Don't you hate it when that happens?) Once he finally calmed back down and fell asleep I decided to lie down for a bit, and I ended up sleeping for a little over 2 hours! (This is particularly amazing because I'm almost never able to fall asleep during the day, no matter how tired I am.)

5. Dinner was brown beans, homemade cornbread, and baked sweet potatoes.

6. The kids ate ice cream cones outside for dessert.

Acting Like Twins

7. Then it was baths and beds...and Paul and I went to bed "early," too!

Sunday's Activities:

1. Homemade pancakes for breakfast. These are the most awesome pancakes ever, by the way!!

The trick is to separate the eggs, beat the egg whites to soft peaks, and then fold them into the batter.

Just take a look at all that fluffy goodness!!

Normally, I make them with blueberries, but we happened to be fresh out of Saylor's least favorite fruit, so I made them plain (to her great joy), and they are just as good this way. Recipe can be found here. We thank you, Bobby Flay, from the bottom of our hearts.

2. Off to church, only maybe 5 minutes late, which is oh, so good for us.

3. Lunch. (Nothing worth mentioning.)

4. And naps.

5. During naptime, Paul and I finally made a decision about homeschool curriculum this year.

Early on in the spring I started assessing whether or not to purchase an actual curriculum. You see, because I used to teach school (before having babies), I own a LOT of stuff Pre-K through 2nd grade (and some beyond 2nd). All this time I've been homeschooling I have not really needed to buy much of anything. Maybe I'd purchase a workbook for extra practice now and then or some kind of manipulative that I once had in the classroom but somehow don't possess any longer. That's been great, but what it MEANS is that I, the teacher, have to PLAN the homeschool curriculum. I have to go through the math books, the grammar books, the literature books, etc. and choose a little bit of each to make lesson plans with. Now, obviously, I know HOW to do that. After all, that was a huge part of my JOB as a teacher. But. I was a teacher with no other responsibilities. I wasn't even married for two of the years I taught! So I easily (and happily, I might add) spent every waking minute of my free time doing lesson plans, making this and that for the lessons, organizing my room, grading, etc.

It's different now. Now I have a toddler scooping toilet water out with a toy pitcher and dumping it into the bathtub (against my wishes, y'all, against my wishes), while I'm nursing the infant, while I'm helping the preschooler write her letters, and while I direct the 1st (going to 2nd) grader to (for goodness' sake!) sit down and get to writing his story! Oh, and did I mention that the phone rang twice during that scenario, I had to discipline the toddler (who knows better), clean and disinfect the area, and now lunch is looming over my head, which means as SOON as the infant is done nursing, I'm off to the kitchen to scrounge something up for them to eat (and I've got to get in there before the toddler sees me--because once he knows a mealtime is nearing, he loses all self-control and starts crying for food). Whew! And after ALLLLLLLLL the other millions of crazy things that will transpire in our typical day, once ALLLLLLL those children are sweetly sleeping in their beds, do you think for one second that I want to drag out school books and start making lesson plans?! Well, no, I do not.

Okay. That was long way to tell you that I was really hoping to give myself a break and find an all-in-one, easy, laid-out, integrated curriculum to use this year. At least for Noah. (After all, Saylor is still just Pre-K/Kindergarten, which doesn't exactly require a curriculum.) I did some research. I read reviews. I picked out a few which sounded good to me. They were expensive. I waffled. I went to the used homeschool book sale and looked and looked. Didn't see what I was looking for. Found a couple new ones. But chickened out since I hadn't read about them yet. Emailed a few people. Asked some questions.

And then one day I thought, "WHY am I about to spend $200-$300 on a new 2nd grade curriculum, when the bulk of my time as a teacher was spent at the 2nd grade level?! I have plenty. I'm just going to have to buckle down and get to planning." So that was that.


I heard about a new homeschool co-op group doing a classical curriculum. The tuition and fees pay for one day per week in a group setting (giving mom a day off) plus the materials/curriculum for the rest of the week. It's all laid-out for you. It's easy. It's a no-brainer. Oh! It sounded so good!! I checked with the director. There were spots available for both Noah and Saylor. But. It was expensive. It was even MORE than the curriculum I would have purchased weeks before.

After church, my friend let me take home her book and look over the first couple weeks worth of lessons. So I did. And I drooled. Not because it was stuff I could never think of. Or stuff I could never teach. Or amazing ideas. Or anything like that. But because it looked so EASY to do. So easy to just say, "Noah, here is your list of stuff you must learn this week. Here are your project choices. Here is what you need to memorize. Now. Go to it! (I'm here if you need any help.)" How nice would that be? And I thought both Noah and Saylor would enjoy themselves, getting to eat lunch and go to recess with peers, but be home with me 4 out of 5 days of the week. (Because I'd HATE to have them gone all the time!!) Anyway, just because I was drooling didn't mean I could HAVE the thing I was drooling over. We discussed. We looked at it from many, many angles. But it just came down to the fact that it was too expensive for us right now. So. If you need me for anything, I'll just be here making lesson plans. *weak grin*

6. We all went to bed at decent bedtimes and pondered how much fun we had during our Staycation. Staycation 2009. All-in-all it was pretty much a success. We adored having Daddy home with us, and though it has come to an end and life has picked up where it left off, we will always treasure the memories of our little family doing these many little things together and how big our love for one another has grown.


  1. I thought of several comments I wanted to make as I was reading, but of course I forgot by the time I got to the end... and since homeschooling is *not* one of the many things we have in common, I got nothing there!
    But hey, I came, I read, I commented anyway :)

  2. I'm exhausted just reading your descriptions! :) You are amazing Lori!

  3. We've never made it to the Clinton library, for some reason; I had wanted to make it for that exhibit. And regarding the little things...I don't always appreciate them as I should; I need to do better.

  4. The first time I went to Walgreens, about a year ago... I did attempt to ask for it by name. They didn't have it, but the lady knew what I was talking about, and didn't know why it wasn't there. I felt REALLY stupid saying "uhm, I'm looking for this stuff... it's called, Uhm, psssst." Yeah.
    I got snaps. I usually use velcro, but have had issues with it not working as well after some time. I figured snaps were safer if they are going to last a while. I hope so anyway. I have used snaps and while they aren't AS adjustable, I haven't had a problem and in some ways they seem to hold better.
    I HOPE I'm happy with these covers. They are pretty new, so no one knows how well they'll hold up over time.


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