Friday, September 30, 2005

I spoke to my friend, T, and we brainstormed how we could get the word out about our h/s group to all the homeschoolers in our area. We know they're out there. I also said I'd like to have J and G get together a little more often, so we already made plans for Monday afternoon. G might join the musical theater class with J - that would be great.

J puttered around with and a few math websites during the day. She told me, "I want to do eristosthenes again", LOL. AFter picking up W, we hit the playground for 45 minutes. There's an adorable first-grader named Sarah who has been hanging around with my kids all week. J has been teaching her some games and W keeps trying to impress her by hanging upside-down or performing magic tricks (he always pals around with the pretty girls. This one has long blond curls and is a great climber - W's totally smitten).

J had dance around 4:45 so I dropped her off and took W to eat. K stayed at the dance studio talking with her friends from the older groups. I returned library books (and paid some fines) and stopped in the Eckerd for a minute. We got back with 15 minutes to spare. W loves all the kids there and usually ends up getting all silly and show-offy. It drives me crazy. When J's class was done, we had two hours to kill before a big company meeting at 8pm. After taking the girls to eat dinner, getting W's hair cut, going in a few shops, it was only 7pm. We went in anyway and chatted with the incoming string of company moms and kids.

The meeting was long but covered everything from class attire to fundraising to next year's nationals. There was a large cooler of beer and hard lemonade for the parents(wheee!!) and soda and chips for the kids. The meetings are always fun. B had a gig lastnight (at a bar around Greenwich and Spring Streets) so W had to endure the meeting as well. He was not too cooperative and in my head I swore to never take him anywhere again. I need MIL to watch him at least 2x a week for me (like 2 hours a day) but she's been putting me off or cancelling. I just feel like not having to deal with her at all (EVER!!!). She's really the only source of stress in my life. But, I'll deal. I'm glad it's the weekend.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

This morning I overheard J talking to B about maybe going to middle school next year (where K goes). B told me later that he was surprised she said that but I'm thinking she is in love with the idea of walking to school with B, lockers, and the fantasy school-life shown on television. We talked about it and I told her it was ok with me whatever she wants to do. I asked her what she would really like about school and the classes and work were not mentioned. Then she thought a little more and remembered how she really does hate being given assignments and boring projects and how K cried a lot last year from all the social pressure. I didn't influence her decision, I just asked her to think of not only what she wants, but what she doesn't want as well. She ultimately decided she would rather be at home - but she still may change her mind as the months go by.

She has been looking a bit "lost" at home during the day and I've decided to implement a bit of structure for her. Today, I showed her what the 4th-grade typical-course-of-study looked like and used math as an example. We skipped over the stuff she already knows and she pointed out the things she'd like to go over. First was "Roman numeral to C". J knows them up to M, but she wanted to review. She figured out our birth years - 1996, 1993, 2001, 1969 and then we went over the tricky ones like 40, 90, 400, 900, etc. Going down the list we stopped at prime numbers and prime factoring. She thought of (and wrote down) all the prime numbers up to 100. Then I chose some numbers for her to factor down to the primes. She tried the same numbers with different factors and was so amused to see that it still ends up with the same prime numbers at the end. She went to find a 5th grade math workbook that had prime numbers and factoring in it and did a page of that. I was trying to think of what else she may enjoy and remembered how another mom talked about Su Doku puzzles (thanks for the idea, Miranda!). I love those and showed J how to do them. She immediately got the idea and finished the whole puzzle very quickly and checked her answers.

After dropping W off at school, we drove over to the craft store to buy stuff to make an autumn wreath. We found a "blank" grapevine wreath and bought leaves, berries, flowers, and a bow. As soon as we got home she layed newspaper out and we got to work. We'll finish it tomorrow.

J had dance again today. They did intense tap with the studio owner and a couple of new kids were attempting the class. One girl's grandmother and I struck up a conversation and of course the first question was, "oh where does she go to school?". I said she's homeschooled and grandma said "Oh wow! That's fantastic! I never met a homeschooler in real life - just seen them on tv". Well, at least she was happily curious and supportive, kinda. I gave her a brief explanation (very brief) of what the state requires and what we do. They all think we get books from the state and a long curriculum list to follow. I said, "Nope. We are free to do as we wish". I felt so proud that we're doing this. Every day I just love homeschooling more and more.

Oh and I've lost 7.5 lbs so far!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

J and W played together most of the morning. She made him his own Neopets and helps him play the games to earn points. They both are trying hard to keep their "new" room clean, so both made their beds and arranged their stuffed animals around the pillows. We headed off the to the children's clothing store to pick up W's school uniform. NYC has instated an optional uniform policy a few years ago and W's school decided to require them. It's very similar to a Catholic school uniform and I have to say W looks great in it. It's just a white polo or dress shirt, and navy blue pants, tie, and socks. He was very proud of himself this morning for "looking like Daddy" and stood at the mirror for a long time. He even gelled his hair up to look even cooler, lol.

He went off to school no problem and I was sort of hoping J and I would maybe read together or do a fun project at home. She decided to dress and re-dress her dolls instead. After that, she was playing with the parakeet - trying to teach him some tricks and having a great time watching him run after her on the floor (it was pretty funny, actually). He's a cool bird. It seemed like overnight he changed from this timid little thing to being happiest *on* one of us all the time. We got him as a baby in June and he's really become one of the family very quickly.

We hit the playground again after picking up W from school. I brought a change of clothes but he insisted on wearing the uniform in the playground like the other kids do. He found some friends and they were playing with sticks, and I noticed they were really being extra careful not to hit each other directly with them (but they'd "swordfight" a bit). then W pretended his was a gun and went around "shooting" the other kids. Where the hell did he learn THAT? Anyhoo, we walked down the block to the bodega and bought some bottles of water and some snacks and went to pick up K.

J had dance again today at 4:45 and we got there a bit early to buy some more water and stuff. Today was the company technique class and it was filled with new kids who will be auditioning for the competition team. This Saturday will be a full day of workshops with 3 1-hour intense intermediate-to-advanced classes taught by 3 of the top instructors in the country (who also direct various regional comptitions). The kids today were told they had to prepare a 15 second routine to perform in front of judges as part of their audition to join or stay in the company. They also have to write out the answers to 2 questions regarding their intentions and ideas about being on the dance team. I asked J if she was nervous about Saturday and she just looked at me like I was crazy. She can't wait to get started!

At home, K started her homework and for the first time I have no idea how to help her with math. They are doing surface area, volume, and dimensions of plane and 3-dimensional figures and I am stumped. I failed 7th grade math :( . I think I'll google it and try to learn it myself so I can maybe help her in the morning. J is always interested in what K is learning and then wants to learn it too. I'll see if she feels like it tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

When I woke up this morning, K and B were all dressed and ready to leave. A 1/2 hour later B calls home to tell me he lost his cellphone. Great. I had to call and suspend the service, realized I still have to pay the monthly fee, AND buy a new phone for $150. During the morning I organized a bit more, since my sister, M, was coming over (from upstate) and I wanted her to see the apartment really nice and neat - and the newly renovated bedroom. J put in the recital DVD and she and W danced to most of the numbers.

Around 11am I started getting W ready for preschool and figured we'd walk to school today so I can retrace B's steps and maybe find the phone. W went into the classroom, J and I scoured the whole area - walking in to K's school (a few blocks east), asking the crossing guard, and even going into the police precinct to see if anyone turned in a phone. No luck.

J and I had a nice walk anyway. At home, she wanted to do her Sunday School homework, so we sat and looked at it together and she finished it up in a few minutes. She checked her blog and played on the Neopets website a bit. After that she started singing songs from Annie again at the top of her lungs. She and K are going to be part of a caberet show in mid-October. Can't wait for that!

My sister came over around 2:15pm and we all left to pick up W. He really enjoyed his day and we went around the corner to the playground again. He and J played for about 30 minutes before we went to pick up K from school. When we were all home they put in the recital DVD again to show M - who couldn't come to it last June since she was working. At 6 we left for W's hip-hop class. I noticed he was the youngest and smallest in the class and therefore seemed to get much more attention (lol). There are about 12 boys in the class. the instructor (also a guy) taught them basic (so cool) moves and W kept up with them all. Then each boy had to freestyle a bit and W was awesome. After 45 minutes he was getting antsy and yawning but stayed in there and continued til the end. It was so fun to watch. There's a large window the parents can watch from, but I tried to stay our of W's line of vision because he would get all silly if he saw me watching.

We got home about 7:45pm and M and I got ready to go out together. I only see my sister every few months so I was eager to spend time with her. We went to a japanese restaurant for dinner and over a few blocks to a pub to have a few drinks and hear a live band. I saw a girl I hadn't seen in 15 years there (I used to be best friend with her sister) and it was so great to catch up with her. We made plans to have brunch this Sunday (her, her sister, her mom and mom's new husband along with me, B, and the kids) at a nearby Irish restaurant.

M and I left around 12:15am and she dropped me off at home. (back in the day we used to always stay at the bars til closing - 4am. I don't have that in me anymore, lol). M was supposed to sleep over my place, but decided she's in the mood to make the 2hr drive home now instead of first thing in the morning. I just hope she doesn't get too tired while driving. I had fun tonight but always end up missing the kids after a few hours.

Monday, September 26, 2005

This morning I finished some more organizing which included tossing out tons of old toys, shoes, clothes, and books. W started his new preschool today which is thankfully only 2 blocks away. I was nervous for him since he didn't like the original one he went to at the beginning of the month. I walked him inside and he immediately ran over to some kids while I chatted with the teacher. When I picked him up he was very happy about his day and excited to return tomorrow. While he was there, J and I organized her room a little more. She then played "Hannah and the Pirate Caves" (Neopets) on the computer and we had lunch. After picking up W, we went to the large playground behind the school. There were at least 100 kids there and I was pleased to see and hear lots of politeness going on. After 45 minutes we went to pick up K from school a few blocks away.

At home, the kids washed up, has something to eat and we went to the Musical Theater class. They're preparing a big "Wicked" number for the spring, which my girls absolutely LOVE. The instructors wanted W to try it as well. He got all shy and goofy, but went in. He lasted about 30 minutes before he'd has enough, lol. The girls really liked it. It's a new class that's going to be full of singing, dancing, and acting. The studio director is planning a fundraiser (to help pay for competition entry fees) and asked if B's band would like to play at the bar it's going to be held in. I thought that was cool of her to ask.

I finally bought the DVD of last year's dance recital so the kids and I watched that tonight all snuggled on the couch. B is out out band rehearsal (next gig is 9/30). W fell asleep on me about 8pm and the girls dozed off around 10. I'll probably be up late again since I enjoy this quiet time of night to read and play on the computer *g*. I was talking to SIL today and talked about the kids and got on the homeschooling subject. She (like MIL) doesn't get the whole h/s concept and "would NEVER do that sort of thing", but understands why I feel it's a good thing for J. Speaking of MIL, I called her to tell her about W's first day at the new school, and she threw in how it would probably be great for J as well. (can I scream now?). I went over again with her how I stand behind my decision and know in my heart this is right for J and how well she is doing and how happy she is. MIL said she is set in her old ways and just can't get comfortable with the idea. What-freakin-everrrr. I need to stop these conversations short with a good one-line response from now on. Something like, "She's happy, I'm happy, she's doing fantastic academically, socially, and emotionally and I plan on keeping it that way until J tells me she wants otherwise (*insert 'DAMN IT!' here when necessary*)".

Sunday, September 25, 2005

This morning B made pancakes for everyone (very NOT SB Diet), and I made him make me eggs. He took the kids to Sunday School and Mom and I got to work. We did the 2nd coat first (it's such a gorgeous light bluish periwinkle color - it's W's room, too, so it's not too fem). The moldings, closet door (J helped paint that!), baseboards, radiator cover, and ceiling are white (really white white). We brillo'd the entire wood floor when we were done, to get off all the paint drips. We took off a huge layer of dirt as well (yucko). Then I mopped it 3 times and we applied a coat of wood floor wax. Now the floors look amazing. Then we put the beds in a new position, and brought in the dresser and bookcase. All the rest of the crap is still in the dining room. Tomorrow, after I throw out more than half of the stuff, I will put everything that's left back in the room (minimalists, remember?). J and W are very pleased with it and will hopefully stay in their own beds now.

Mom also cleaned and scrubbed K's room, the bathroom, and some of the kitchen. I don't know where she gets the energy. I just sat with my aching feet up watching her zip around with rags in one hand and a garbage bag in the other. She was like that every Saturday when I was growing up. I think now as an adult I subconsciously rebel against all cleaning. I finally had to kick her out of here by 10:30pm. I swear she would have been here til 2am without taking so much as a 5-minute sit.

B and the kids ran tons of errands for us today, stopping at the supermarket twice and Home Depot 3 times. LOL. Then B came home and made a nice dinner (stuffed peppers, mmmmmmmmm). I really appreciate how much he does for me. So, I'm happy that the room is done and my apartment is clean. Now it just needs to stay nice. Sigh.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

We all got up around 8:30am and B made eggs and turkey bacon for everyone (very SB Diet, lol). The rest of the morning was a mad rush to get everything cleaned up and put away before Mom got here. She arrived about 1pm and we went out to buy paint and supplies. B took the kids to the movies to see The Corpse Bride for the afternoon. Mom and I brought lunch home, ate, and started on J's room. We ended up cleaning for 4 hours before painting - taking everything out of the room, sweeping, mopping, sanding, organizing. I told you she was a clean freak. B and the kids got home around 4. Later on, J went out to a Thai restaurant with her friend, S, and her family. I thought that was cool. Mom and I finally got some paint on the ceiling around 6pm and finished the trim/corner framing and the first coat on the walls at about 10:30pm. K helped with framing the baseboard area. J got home about 9. I got in the mood for Asian food, so the rest of us ordered Chinese take-out.

Tomorrow we put on the second coat, paint all the moldings and trim, and put all the stuff back in the room. After today, I have decided we should become minimalists. I cannot beLEEEEVE all the crap J has in there. The kids start Sunday school tomorrow as well. K makes her confirmation next year so this year is mandatory. J and W have no sacraments coming up for a few years yet, but they have fun there. Now, getting them to go to church is another thing. It's the hour before Sunday school and usually everyone is too tired that early. I don't make them go. I'm bored to tears usually myself. Hopefully, while B and the kids are gone, Mom and I can get that room done fast.

Friday, September 23, 2005

We stayed home cleaning today. My mom is coming in the morning to help me paint. She's also sleeping over, so I had to bust my butt perfecting the apartment before she gets here. It still doesn't look like it'll be up to her standards. My mom is the queen of clean and I didn't inherit any of those genes. I just hope she goes easy on me. LOL.

J watched The Magic Schoolbus this morning and then a little too much tv the rest of the day. I diverted her attention a couple of times by having her help me with the laundry. She was eager to show me that she could do it by herself. And she could. She asked if she could do laundry all the time now. Yeah, like that's gonna last more than a week, lol. She also did some computer games with W and was on the phone with her dance friend, S, for hours.

W and I played LeapPad this afternoon. I bought him a new book for it yesterday on digraphs and letter blends. I have to keep remembering to let him lead. I was starting to go into teacher mode there for a minute and he immediately lost interest in the page we were doing (I'm a Type-A, first-born, Virgo - being anal is in my blood). Damn, it's hard not to do that. So then when I started letting him do whatever he wanted with it instead of doing it "right", he had fun again. Hey, I'm learning, I'm learning.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The big school finally called and W starts Monday. He's very happy about this since he's been asking to go every day this week. J is happy, too because she felt "thrown off" by W being home. I think it's just because he's only 4 and doesn't know how to spend time by himself that often. He always wants to be silly and play with J - which is perfectly fine - except that J wants quiet, alone-time to concentrate. I'm sure that sometime in the near future he will learn how to keep himself occupied without disrupting the whole house. But I still think he's beyond adorable and I love playing with him even if J thinks he's a pain, lol.

We went out to Barnes and Noble this afternoon and I told the kids they could choose something. J came over to me with a 4th-grade Spectrum Language Arts workbook that she wanted. She excitedly said they didn't have this last time we were there. She opened it up and showed me how much fun it looked. (um, ok then). I am actually glad she enjoys workbooks so much. She is just used to them since she used them often in school and it's probably a part of her comfort zone. That's fine. She also picked out a children's novel - The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. Some of the books she chooses seem so below her reading level, but I'm not saying anything. All I care about is that she's liking reading again.

We ate dinner at Boston Market - it was easy to stick with my SB Diet there - and got home around 7. While K was finishing homework on the computer, J, W, and I lay on my bed reading. I'm trying to finish the diet book, J read her new one, and W flipped through a Disney storybook and the Wizard of Oz. All of a sudden we were having a big hug fest and laughing hysterically. I made dessert (SBD friendly) out of ricotta cheese, unsweetened cocoa powder, and a packet of Equal. K wanted to try it first and freaked out over how good it was. It was amazing - not what you'd expect. I decided to have that every night. LOL.

So, I changed the blog template - what do you think? The other one was getting claustrophobic-looking. I like it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

We went to Costco this morning so I could buy all the food for The South Beach Diet. Yes, I have finally realized that I have to start taking drastic measures to lose the number of pounds I want to. I bought almost $300 worth of stuff, which should last us at least 3 weeks. I would only need to fill in with stuff for the kids, milk, and beverages. In the store, I was noticing how fast J is with basic math in her head when she was helping me with unit pricing. I also noticed how happy she seems and how well-spoken she is becoming. People have been telling me lately how polite she is, too. I am really seeing so many changes for the better.

I bought J a science kit that she wanted. It's missing the instruction booklet so I have to bring it back now (grrr). I haven't heard from the big school yet. I think I may give them a call if I don't hear by Thursday. The director from the school he won't go back to called today and asked what's going on. I told her the truth that he didn't like it all that much and she automatically assumed that meant I was going to homeschool him. She went into this long tirade about how preschool is so good for kids and how they need the socialization and "I know your homeschooling your other child but you have to understand he won't get into any Kindergartens if he's not in preschool...". That last comment, BTW, is total bullshit. They will be let into school if and whenever they choose to go and it doesn't matter whether it's in September of February. I also told her "I have no current plans of h/s him but if that was the route he wanted to take than it's ok by me, and that is none of your concern anyway". This woman had sufficiently pissed me off. No wonder W doesn't want to be there. I'm glad I trusted his (and my) instincts.

As for me, I started the SB Diet today and plan on going to Curves at least 3x a week. I plan on losing about 70lbs by next summer. Dh is joining me on this endeavor. I'm excited about it.

Monday, September 19, 2005

After playing on the piano this morning, J went to the bookcase (newly moved to a more visible area) and selected a 4th-grade Phonics workbook to do. She sharpened a pencil, went into her bedroom, turned on classical music and did 5 pages (J swears classical music helps her think). She called out to me once and said, "Ma, are you sure this is 4th grade? It's seems really easy.". I told her she's only on the first pages and it should get harder toward the middle. LOL. She thought of doing all the answers in cursive - which I thought was great since she hasn't practiced in a while (well except for some handwriting workbook the other day). Her cursive writing is so pretty and neat. She did forget how to make "f"s and "x"s, so she asked me to show her.

W brought me his workbook to do with him, too. Whenever he sees J doing one, he has to do one, too. We did number matching and A, B, and C pages with stickers. B came back to pick them up after his appt, and they all went to Michael's to get all the sewing stuff. He did a good job of getting everything on the list (ok, so he called me 4 times with questions, lol). At home, J organized everything (needles, embroidery thread, felt, buttons, googly eyes, and pins) into her Caboodles box. She mentioned wanting to do the sewing with me. I figure tomorrow we'll learn together - she'll read me the directions, I'll demonstrate, and she can take it from there.

We're still waiting for Ms. X to call us about the opening for W's class. He is choosing to stay home until then. (You know, I never used to be the kind of person who believed a 4 y/o really understands what's "right" for himself. I am wondering if this time last year I would have sent him crying and screaming like those other kids - God I hope I wouldn't have done that. But now, with this school issue I know there was something about that school that truly bothered him. I have to go with my instincts on this one. And since I've been unschooling, I have so much more trust in the kids and I know he'll be alright no matter what).

J was asked to sing at a cabaret show in October. She froze right up when I asked her about it and she said she won't do it. I know she sings very well and I know that her confidence will soar if she does this show, so I was thinking of ways to convince her to do it. Finally, I just asked K to sing at the show instead. K has no confidence issues and sprang right up with a loud YES and then of course J changed her mind. ROFL. They'll be representing the dance studio and promoting the new musical theater class. (K would have been asked too, if the studio owner knew she could sing). Now to find the right songs...
This weekend I got a lot of cleaning done (never enough, though) and J finally got back with her dance team. They rehearsed Saturday for Sunday's street fair performances. She was thrilled to see her friends again. She brought her wallet which had about $14 and did really well selecting what to buy. She even bought things for her brother and still has most of the money left. W found other 4 y/os to play with. They played ball, shared bags of chips, and had burping contests. There were pony rides and 4 big inflatable jumpy/slidy/bouncy/climby things for the kids to do. K hung out with the 12-year-old team all day. It was funny seeing these 7 gorgeous girls (6 dressed alike) walking around with a few preteen boys following them like puppies. Thankfully they are all responsible and mature and handled them well. It really was cute, though. The owner told me she has big plans for J this year. She is very excited to get J doing a solo. I can't wait either.

I'm kinda bummed over the fact that we can't do much with our homeschool group due to W having afternoon Pre-K. They have so many wonderful activities planned for the fall. We'll try our best to make it to some things and if it's something really great, W will just miss school that day.

J wants to learn to sew so she found a book in the library called "Sewing with Felt". B is home today for a doc appt, so I'm sending him to Michael's afterward to pick up sewing supplies. I'm going to let J have the supplies and the book, and see what happens. I won't interfere unless she asks. I made a summary of last week's learning and I think it's better to keep a weekly log rather than a daily one from now on. I can just take the info from the blog. Here is the breakdown:

9/12/05 to 9/18/05

CIRCUITS: electron flow, closed/open circuits, positive/negative poles, and how it all has to do with the electricity in the walls (she ripped open musical greeting card to study speaker/battery circuit inside)

LANGUAGE ARTS: antonyms, synonyms, matching word meanings, fill-in-the-blank (comprehension), (4th grade Test-Prep workbook) and analogies (4th grade up to 11th grade, workbook and websites), answered questions on TurboTwist.

MATH: percents, decimals, fractions (funbrain website, 5th grade), Supermarket math: budgeting, finding bargains, division, fractions, rounding, precents, adding decimals, weight, and unit pricing, Oak Meadow sample pages (out of curiosity), Sorting: mail, clothes, recyclables, and photos, calculator skills

GEOGRAPHY: finding US states on a map (online game), 2-letter abbreviation for each state (workbook)

HANDWRITING: various cursive letters and sentences (workbook)

READING: comprehension questions (test-prep workbook), The Hobyahs (folktale), The 3 Princes (folktale), and Anne of Green Gables (read-aloud together)

HISTORY: answered questions on TurboTwist

Other things J did this week were: learning to play new songs on the piano, singing the entire score to Broadway shows (every day, sigh, lol), cooking, skating and pogo-stick, pet care, updating her blog and creating a new website, arts and crafts, creating Neopets, playing Neopets games to win points in order to "buy" things. "Annie" video party, and dancing with her team in a street fair.

Isn't unschooling great?

Friday, September 16, 2005

W stayed home again today. He kept saying he would rather go to "the big school". So I called the big school and was told to come by around 11am and speak to Ms. X. We went in and she said there were 3 openings in the afternoon session. Then she asked J where she went to school (this is getting ridiculous). I said she was homeschooled (not feeling cheeky today) and OH MY GOD the amount of questions this woman asked was insane. She wanted to know everything from standardized testing, to curriculum, to "but she neeeeeeeds to know certain math skills". She was too much of a schoolteacher to have the ability to think anything positive of homeschooling. And she even had the balls to say "oh, so she just doesn't want to be around other kids". AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH! As politely as I could, I answered her questions and said her social life is actually better now thankyouverymuch.

Where's the damn bean dip when you need it?

So W was happy with the classroom, the teacher, and the sufficient amount of toys he saw. Ms. X. and I shook hands and she said she'll call me within a week so he could be enrolled. She *is* nice - letting J and W play with the toys and even giving W a high-five. In a way, I think she was genuinely curious about what we do and how we do it. Every question she threw at me got a great response, I think. I may have opened her eyes to something new. See? I can be an optimist when I want to!

When we got home, I notice W had a fever and he promptly fell asleep for a couple of hours. I'm sure he got it from his cousin at the beach last Sunday. J and I took advantage of the quiet-time and read some "Anne of Green Gables" together, and she did a few pages in a map/atlas workbook. I happened to be looking at "curriculums" and happened upon Oak Meadow. I was just curious to see what the appeal was. I showed J the 4th grade sample pages. Already I could see she was way beyond the math. She went down the line saying the answers to all the problems aloud. The other subjects' activities were things she'd also already learned, but some of the activities looked like fun. I wouldn't spend almost $500 on it, though. I definitely prefer unschooling to any overly structured forced lesson learning curriculum. She then checked her blog and played the Neopets game online. After that, she played some songs on the piano keyboard (she made up her own version of the bridal march, lol). Soon we're going to start our own fun projects and activities. I have several books to look through for ideas. Later, we picked up K and went to see one of the high schools for her that I have in mind. It was raining and we couldn't see much, but it's in a good part of town and is small with only about 400 kids. I'm still researching, though.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

W stayed home from preschool today. We got there and he just hugged me and said he didn't want to go. The tears started coming and he said he liked when I stayed outside the classroom last week. I put him on my hip so we were eye level, asked him some questions, hugged him and we left. I will not make him go if he doesn't want to. He probably thinks he's missing out on something at home, or just missing me. When I was his age (ok, older than him) I never wanted to go to school because I thought my mom needed me and missed me so much when I wasn't there. I wonder if that's in the back of his mind somewhere. He also said that it's not like his old school and that he'd rather go to the big Kindergarten school. He said the kids were whiny and loud and it's just all weird.

At home, We kept the tv off and J wanted him to see that it's all work at home when he's in school. She decided to do a few pages of a handwriting book, a few pages of reading comprehension in the test-prep book, and played several games on the "Turbo Twist" (English and Social Studies questions). I'll admit I did try and make it boring for him to be here. I want him to enjoy preschool and do all the fun things there. J also needs the quiet-time alone. He brought me his workbook and we did about 7 pages together. Then he said he wanted to go to school tomorrow. He mentioned something about missing the playground today. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I guess people feel the need to ask kids about school because they assume it is the one thing all kids have in common. I made a follow-up dental appointment for J and requested next week at 1pm or 2pm. He asked if that's when she got out of school because it was so early. I was ready to say "she's homeschooled", but felt a bit cheeky, so I answered, "Well, she's in an autodidactic interest-based program". Heh heh.

J and I went to the supermarket together today and not-surprisingly found lots of math there. Cereal was buy 1 get 1 free, and 1 box was $4.49. She rounded it to $4.50 and figured half of 4 was 2, and half of 50 was 25 - $2.25 per box. She did the same with cake mix (2 for $2.09), and cucumbers (4 for $1.29). She had her own $2 and was carefully and silently scrutinizing everything she wanted - is it a good deal?, can I afford 2 of them?, is it something I really really want? She made a game out of the trip and enjoyed the alone-time with me.

J and K had fillings put in at the dentist this afternoon. K went first and was out quickly. J was scared to death and we all went in with her. I like this dentist as he explains everything he's doing and is very funny and calming - and gives out cool goody bags. J was great, except didn't like her face being numb - later on she bit her tongue really hard and it bled. She has to go back next week for the other side.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

J slept til 10:30am today. Meanwhile, W made a couple of peanut-butter and jellys for us. He is very proud of the fact that he can do that *g*. He brought over word cards for me to do with him - but he cheats and looks at the picture before guessing the word, lol. J and I brought him to school and W ran right inside after a kiss for me. And there was the boy from yesterday (pacifier) with his grandmother. The teachers had to literally peel him off of her while he screamed and screamed. I stood there with my eyes welling up at this horrible scene. I wanted to run over there and hug him. I heard the director saying that they'll take him in today, but if he's crying like this again tomorrow, they should rethink preschool for him because it's too traumatic. I'm glad she said that.

At home, J and I did a bunch of 5th grade stuff on She did a few math problems on percents. The questions were like this: "After giving a 14% tip the total bill was $63.54. What was the original bill?". Then she found a geography game where you have to name the highlighted US state. Then she wanted to find more analogies to do. We found a few different sites, some aimed at SAT takers. She breezed right through all of them. She says these are so fun. Before we knew it, it was 3pm and we had to pick up W.

He had a good day again. They did Play-Doh, painting (with glitter, too!), music, snack, kid's kitchen center, and floor puzzles. He did say he was bored a little when they did some ABC songs. I don't blame him. He knows all that stuff already. I'm glad he has fun there, though. I don't have the energy or patience lately to do all those things with him. I saw the screaming boy come running out smiling, too.

We drove over to pick up K from school and went to the eye doctor to get her new eyeglass lenses and 6 month supply of contact lenses. The optician told me about how contacts help a lot girls with their self-esteem and shyness issues. I told him he hit the nail on the head with that one. I got contacts at 15 years old and came out of my shell running. So I completely understood. He said his mother made him deal with his black Buddy Holly glasses until his late teens. I was LMAO.

In the evening, W tinked on the piano, read some "Ready Set Read" magazine, and counted coins with me. J played Neopets, spun the aforementioned coins with W on the floor, and checked her emails and blog. K made a creamy pasta dish for dinner, did her homework, added some stuff to her website, IM'd a few friends, and talked on the phone. I got no cleaning done today - but I did get another Mary Kay order. I have been a Mary Kay consultant for about a year-and-a-half. About 6 months ago I put it to the side and immersed myself in homeschooling research (I can't hyperfocus on more than 1 thing at a time). My regular customers keep calling, though, so at least I'm still making money. I think I might start up again. I really enjoyed it.

Monday, September 12, 2005

J got back into the swing of things pretty quickly today! We have this advertisement in the form of a card. When you open it, a man's voice gives this promo about a new tv show (anyone else get this?). Well, we decided to take it apart and see the circuit inside. It's cool because it's pretty straight forward with a complete circuit that has a metal part that you push against another metal part which causes the the sound to form. There are wires and batteries and a speaker. I looked up a kids circuit/electricity site (so I could understand it myself). We talked about electron flow, closed/open circuits, positive/negative poles, and how it all has to do with the electricity in the walls. Both kids had a lot ot say about it and W just went on and on with his own opinions about how it all works.

W had a bath and we took him to preschool at 12:45pm. One little girl was crying so badly that it broke my heart. That is just so not right. It was terrible to watch her scream and scream and reach for her mother who turned around and (had to) walk away. W didn't like that at all and went in looking like a lost puppy. Another boy (4 y/o) was outside in a carriage with a pacifier in his mouth (WTF?), with his hands over his face, determined not to move. His mom had a hard time prying him off and getting him inside. Preschool should not be torturous and traumatic like this. The children who do go should want to be there and look forward to it. If W had a separation issue, believe me, I wouldn't think twice about heading right home with him - not to return. We wouldn't have shown up at all if he wasn't excited about it all summer. He came out smiling again, so I'm not worried at all. They played in the big jungle gym today and he made a couple of new friends, too!

When J and I got home, she put n the Annie CD and belted out every song from beginning to end. She sings so well. I'm glad she's taking the musical theater class this year. They're not gonna believe it when they hear her sing. I casually mentioned to her that she may be taking a test in the spring, and not to forget to brush up on some basic things. She said, "Oh yeah! I did forget! Will you watch me do some of the test-prep book?". Well, that was easy. She started at the first page and continued to do 8 more. It was the Language Arts section and she filled in the bubble with answers to questions on antonyms, synonyms, matching word meanings, fill-in-the-blank (comprehension), and analogies. She didn't want the analogies page to end so she got right up, went to the computer, and found pages and pages of analogies quizzes. Some were multiple choice and some were write-in-your-answer. I think she spent another 45 minutes doing that. She is so good at them, too. All the quizzes she found were for 4/5th grade level and she aced them all.

I noticed again today that when J is figuring answers out, she tends to think kind of out-of-the-box. One analogy was GREEN:COLOR as TRIANGLE:___ . The answer is obviously "shape" - except J wrote "polygon". J is technically correct. She does that often and it's one of the reasons teachers didn't "get" her. I told her she was absolutely right, but the tests usually veer toward the more obvious answers. She hates getting answers wrong, but she loves taking tests. Online tests, actually. Not the kind that the teachers made her do, but the ones she finds on her own about topics she enjoys.

At 4pm when everyone was home, W practiced Chopsticks on the piano keyboard (he's still trying to get it after a year). This time, I colored the correct keys for him and he got it on the first try. Why didn't I think of that months ago? J played some songs as well. It's a teaching keyboard and it shows you how to play all the song in its songbank (100 songs). She uses that to teach herself how to play. K had another good day at school. The boy she likes (ok, the one who asked her to be his girlfriend in June) is back from a long summer in the Bahamas. They resumed being a couple (god help me) and she has been in a good mood all day. Now 3 boys are calling my house for her and I'm getting ticked off. I am on her like a hawk, and although I do trust her, I don't trust the other kids. We did homework together (Cartesian coordinates) and had another talk about school, friends, boys, etc. (a happy, friendly talk - not a nasty, condescending one). I'm wondering when the time will come when she stops telling me things. I am nervous about the future. K has become the queen-bee in the popular group and I don't know if I should do anything. I wish I knew more moms of teens and almost-teens. I need advice through this phase.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Woke up at mom's around 8 and Dad had homemade waffles and bacon waiting for us all. My sister, G, dropped off her 2 kids around 10am because she and her husband were in this big golf tournament (that they actually won last year!!). All of us decided to get in one last beach day this year. It was breezy but really nice. There were a lot of horseshoe crabs dead at the shoreline in a pile and the kids were playing with them (eew).

K made a big hole in the sand and built a few sandcastles in it. She also found some shells, a white quartz rock with a hole in it, and some indian paint rocks to bring home. Mom and all the kids went in the water, which is still warm, and played in the small waves. W rode some waves in - swimming underwater like a fish. There were lots of seagulls and even 2 little baby ones (never saw ones so tiny). We fed them some cookies. If your not watching your spot, they will come and invade it, looking for food, lol. J was still in the water as we were packing up to leave and didn't want to come out.

W fell right asleep in the car and slept right through dinnertime. He awoke around 7, but by that time we were home in the city. K did the rest of her homework on the computer and J and W played together on my bed. W will probably be up late now. B should be home by 10:30pm and said he will hang out with W if he's still up. Tonight is B's last night at the Open! All the money he made is going right to the credit cards. I'm looking forward to a good week.

Never forget September 11th.

I watched the ceremony this morning and cried as they named my friend Yvonne, who I had just seen at a Candlelight party the week before she died. And I cried for B's friend James, who lived down my block and dated a girl I used to hang out with. And I cried for all of them and all their families. I cried for NYC and for the USA. Then I dried my tears and hugged my kids and felt so much pride to be an American.

May God bless us all.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Not much went on today. The girls have been addicted to an online Neopets game and pretty much the whole Neopets website. They create "pets" and collect points which can buy them things. I don't get most of it, but it looks like fun. K must have received about 15 phone calls throughout the course of the day. She has been telling me all about the "scene" and it sounds like its right out of the Queen Bees and Wannabes book. She's enjoying it for now, but I keep reminding her not to get all wrapped up in the social-rankings game or it may come back to bite her. It just makes me so nervous.

We went out to my mom's house at around 5. J brought "Because of Winn Dixie" to read while here. She also brought her workbook - she says she really likes this particular one - but I don't think she'll get to it this weekend. My parents took us all out to dinner for my birthday - which was nice. We even had the singing waiters, lol. W was playing "Prince of Persia" on mom's phone and was very good at it. I think he might enjoy a Gameboy or something.

Everyone was asleep by 9:30pm. B only has one more day at the Open.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Second day of school. K had a great day. It all revolves around friends, clothes, and boys, but we have many discussion about such topics and she gets it. She has such a good head on her shoulders. She understands about keeping her grades up and is still at the age where she wants to please me, so I'm not going to be overly concerned...yet.

W had a great day too! When we got to school, some kids invited him over to play and they all were running around outside. I went up with him and sat outside for the hour again. I watched him through a crack in the door and saw he was doing puzzles, drawing, and jumping around to music. He came out smiling and happy and that's what I want to see.

J stayed at MIL's while I took W to school. MIL is still not on the same page with me on homeschooling so I asked J if she wouldn't mind bringing over a book and a workbook to do. These are things J does on her own, so a little nudge from me aint gonna kill her. MIL needs to see that J is actually "doing" something. J didn't mind at all and understood. I think MIL is starting to see that J has matured a lot and is definitely happier at home. J did a couple of workbook pages and read through the National Geographic Kids magazine MIL got for her.

In the evening she practiced some songs on the piano keyboard and we played Rummikub. K has been on the phone for hours (sigh), and W fell asleep a little after 8pm. B got home at 9:15pm (early!) and doesn't have to be back at the Open until 4pm tomorrow. I really miss him when he's not here.

We registered the kids for dance today at their NEW studio - bigger, nicer, and an outside courtyard where W can play! J cannot wait to get back there. She will be going Wednesdays for technique with the whole company (9-25 y/o), Thursdays for tap and hip-hop, and Fridays for technique with her company (9-10 y/o). She and K are taking a new Musical Theater class on Mondays and W is taking a new Boys Hip-hip class on Tuesdays - with the older boys he knows. J will also be learning and rehearsing her solo on the weekends. There are lots of fundraisers, meetings, and workshops also on the schedule. So basically we'll be living at the studio. K also wants guitar and karate lessons and W wants some sports lessons. I'll have to see about that.

I am so excited for a fantastic year!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Two of the kids started school today. J has proudly announced to everyone who has been asking that she's homeschooled - and a LOT of people have been asking. K was very excited to start school. She wore a camouflage miniskirt (has shorts attached), black uptowns (sneakers) with ankle socks, black tank-top, and cropped denim jacket. I wish I had half of her fashion sense. She's good - and still tasteful. She said she had a good day. 7th grade is going to be tough and she knows that. She has 8 different teachers and already got math homework. They gave her an elective she did not pick (orchestra - which I think is a good one since she's taken that for 2 years already, but she hates it), so I have to write a note to get it changed. She sat with her old friends at lunchtime and was happy to see them. None of them are in her class this year, but she is starting to make new friends. I pray she has a good year.

W started school at 12:45. At 7am he started asking if it's time to go. J and I brought him over, and he was eager to get into the building. I was disappointed that it wasn't the room I saw in the spring with all the animals in it. So we go up to the room and all the parents sit outside (we had to stay in case there was a separation issue). Only about 5 kids out of 16 showed up the first day (WTF?). There are 2 big playground areas outside that they will use frequently. They provide the snacks, which is great - I don't have to scrounge around the house for something to pack for him. They give fruit, graham crackers, juice, and stuff like that. Everything else was ok, I guess. He didn't like it, said the teachers were weird, and said he didn't want to go back. By the evening, I found out that the teachers were "weird" because they had the kids clean up. (LOL). I think he also doesn't like the sing-songy way they talk to the kids. He decided he DID actually want to try it again. If he still doesn't like it by next week, I'm taking him out altogether.

So about 4 people yesterday asked J where she goes to school. I am so proud of her that she finally has the confidence to say it like it is rather than get that "deer-in-the-headlights" look she used to get. The responses have all been positive but you can tell they are a bit take aback by the idea of homeschooling. J told me she doesn't miss school at all and loves being home with me. She didn't get much time to herself yesterday but did manage to create several new songs on the piano keyboard, so some artwork, take an online history quiz, and help me straighten up the apartment.

So, it was my birthday today. The kids fought a lot, the apartment is better, but still messy, and I have this whole preschool thing weighing heavily on me. In the evening, B was home (he took off from working the US Open)! He took all the kids out to pick up a nice Italian dinner and K's school supplies. We ate dinner as a family for the first time in weeks and it was so nice. They surprised me with a birthday cake with 2 tealight candles on it (dh forgot birthday candles, ROFL). My gift was an old necklace he got fixed for me - of my 3 kids' birthstones each set in a charm. I love it. My birthday horoscope today said to stop trying to live up to everyone else's expectations and just be yourself. Yeah. I think I'll save that one.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The dentist was at 11:30am today. It was an assembly line of each kid going in for x-rays, then a cleaning, then an exam. K has a couple of cavities and might need braces on her bottom teeth, but we'll wait a few more years for that since puberty causes bones to grow and may undo whatever braces fix. Besides any jaw bone growth may just realign her teeth to the right spots! J also has a few small cavities. Both girls will get porcelain fillings put in next week. W has no cavities, but does have decalcification of his 2 front teeth. It was cause by them rubbing together when they came in. The hygienist actually thought it was bottle rot. I told her W never had a bottle (or anything else that would cause decay there). She found it wonderful that I breastfed him for over 2 years, although she was pretty shocked by that.

She must have asked J about school because she asked me all about homeschooling and how it's done in NY. I love genuinely interested people! She has a dd who is 4 and is on the school bus at 7am and doesn't get home til 6pm because she goes to school in Brooklyn. She told me this after I mentioned that children aren't really supposed to be away from their parents at a young age :foot . LOL. She is going to start researching homeschooling to see if she'd like to pursue that path.

We left the dentist and stopped in Foot Locker where I finally succumbed to buying K "Uptowns" - which I found out are nothing more than the same Nike sneakers I wore in 1984. I also got her a Jansport bookbag. So, with my wallet $105 thinner, we stopped in a pizzeria for lunch.

We came home after that (3pm-ish?) and I made a futile attempt to clean while the kids played together. J and W are in strange moods lately. They have been acting ultra-silly and are just wrecking this place - eating in bedrooms, jumping on my bed, screaming, running, throwing their clothes everywhere, and spilling something every 10 minutes. I am really about to lose it. Tomorrow is my birthday and I feel like crap today. I may have to bring J to W's first day of school (parents have to stay there with the kids) because there's no one around to watch her for an hour. We can't make the Not-Back-To-School picnic either because W goes in the afternoon. My apartment is a mess. And I'm feeling like I have no control over anything anymore. Not so great a day.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I really do love living in NYC. There's so much to love about it. However, lately I have not been too fond of certain things. First off, living in an apartment gets aggravating after a while. Tonight I opened my bathroom window to see my neighbor showering and then cleaning out his nose - in the form of very audible snot rockets. Yucko. Then since we all live in such close proximity on this block, I always hear at least one of 5 dogs barking. Cars with loud music drive by several times a night and around once every other month, someone is having a really loud party til 2am. I share a backyard with the 2 (illegally 3) family house next door. The tenants change every couple of years so I never really get to know who exactly is living there. I am a little afraid of letting the kids play outside alone. Currently there is an Asian family on the 2nd floor, a Hispanic family on the 1st floor, and an Indian man in the basement. A very nice Pakistani guy owns the house and lives across the street and so far he has chosen pleasant folks to live there (thank goodness).

Another thing that is weird is that there is so so much to do, that I can never decide and then just don't do anything. LOL. There's a bunch of auditions coming up the kids would like, a bunch of youth choral groups, about 200 places in my immediate area that offer karate, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, music lessons (the list doesn't end) and things like African drumming, quilting, belly dancing, scrapbooking, and theater arts classes. K wants to DO something and I can't choose which are the best places. There are just SO many cultural events going on at the same time and I always want to go to several. There are 48 freakin' street fairs in September. There are 12 events I'd like to go to that are all on September 24th (a backyard composting class, a "National Estuaries Day Festival", the Queens County Fair, "Films for Grandchildren", Bookmaking/bookbinding class for family photo albums, Hans Christian Andersen storytelling in Central Park, Re-creating old-time radio dramas at a nearby museum, "Saturday Family Art Workshop", a "Cross-Sectons of Ancient Egypt" cultural study, "Harmony on the Hudson" music festival, a Russian culture immersion, and an "Autumn Circle" family art project). I know it's probably dumb to complain about this, but sometimes it can get overwhelming and confusing.

But all that aside, I still love it here. I am grateful, though, that my mom lives an hour away in the quiet suburbs (more like "the country") where we can escape to for a few days and swim in a real pool, go to the beach, see a trillion stars, be surrounded by flowers and trees, and hear nothing at night but cicadas, crickets, and katydids - and the occasional dog barking.
This morning K had an eye doctor appointment. 2 years ago I had promised she would get contact lenses the summer before 7th grade. Boy, did THAT arrive fast! We got there at 10:30am and she was "trained" and fitted for 30 minutes, examined, and told what to do. I kinda thought that she may be too young for them, but the eye doc said his 12yr old just got them too. I also asked the doc about J's sudden blinking "problem". She started this a couple of weeks ago and I was getting concerned. He said a lot of kids do that and even his own son did it for a while at that age. He also asked if J was smart. I told him a little about her and he said smart kids tend to do it a lot because they are just thinking all the time and a lot goes on in their mind. He said to just ignore it and it will go away (she is scheduled for an eye exam next month to rule out any actual problems).

We stayed in that area, got McDonald's, and shopped for a few hours after that. K wanted yet MORE back-to-school clothes but there wasn't anything she liked. I got J and W some socks and underwear and a few other small things before my feet started to hurt and I was ready to head home. We did stop at the library first - I had about $40 to pay off in fines . I thought J might like to select some nice read-alouds, but she and W were too interested in playing with a little toddler who was running around the place. Much to my glee, K ended up picking out about 4 folk tales for me to read aloud this week. She also found a "For Dummies" book on learning HTML. She is so excited about learning that.

It's funny. I expected J to be more interested in things like her sister is. K is so creative and very, very self-motivated. She would make a fantastic unschooler (LOL). J is that way, too, but on a much more subtle scale. I'm curious to see what's in store for this year.

At home, J checked her blog, K checked her website, and W played online games. Then K chatted on the phone to several friends and J put on her new dance outfit and danced all over the house. Then we all sat down together and watched "The Snow Queen" on HBO Family. Then J went inside to play with her Little House paper dolls and watched "School of Rock" (one of her faves) with K and W. All the kids played on the piano keyboard for a bit and we ate a quick dinner. K made pineapple-banana smoothies for everyone. YUM. The rest of the night will consist of my reading a couple of the folk tales to them and hopefully getting to bed early. They all are seeing the dentist in the morning.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Today is Labor Day! We spent the weekend at my mother's house in Long Island. This morning K made pancakes for everyone. We all got dressed and went to the beach for like 6 hours. It's such a beautiful beach out here. The kids did a lot of sand play - making big holes, sifting out the rocks, and making "soup" with shells, seaweed, and pebbles. They all found friends to play with, too. The water was warm and W showed off his swimming ability. I haven't been swimming in the sea in a long time and had to get used to there being "stuff" in the water . We found a couple of horseshoe crabs and sand crabs. K wanted to dissect one.

Back at Mom's house, the kids went in the pool and we had pizza for dinner. We'll probably drive the hour back home at around 9ish. I think I want to come out again next week and hit that beach again before it gets too chilly.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

We are at my mom's again this weekend. My nephew's 5th birthday was today and there was a big party at his house. Mom took the girls for manicures and pedicures this morning. They love that. I stayed at mom's getting myself and W dressed and ready. The party was fun. My sister rented a blow-up bouncy thing for the kids and K and another girls did face painting and tattoos for the little kids. Several parents asked J about school coming up which led to many discussions about homeschooling. J still doesn't seem confident enough to just say - IM HOMESCHOOLING. So I usually step in and say it for her. I got so many questions today about it, and they seemed pretty genuine. One mom said she and her kids would butt heads and they'd never get anything done all day. I hear that a lot from parents who have no idea about homeschooling.

Yesterday we did more shopping out here. Mom bought the kids some clothes and we stopped at White Castle for lunch. I hate White Castle. My stepdad brought us there every freakin' week growing up (because it was cheap, I guess) and I always wanted to just puke. So yesterday was the first time I've been there since I was about 10. It still tastes the same and it brought back my childhood puke feelings. The kids went in the pool when we got back and fell asleep fairly early. Mom and I sat out on the deck chatting and drinking White Zinfandel til midnight. I love that.

Friday, September 02, 2005

We met our new neighbors last night. They seem like nice people and have a boy who's 8 y/o. We played some baseball together and played with Susie, their beagle puppy. We did a big food shopping trip, and I realize it's not a good idea to take all the kids. It seemed they were all talking at once, asking for this and that. W has been real ornery lately. He ran around the store, threw a peach on the floor and stepped on it, and ignored me when I told him to stay next to me. I can't just let him misbehave in the store, but I don't want to cause a scene, either. I hate bribery (although it does work temporarily) and I won't yell or chase him. I just gotta leave him home next time. He's 4 1/2. Will this behavior end soon? He's like this in restaurants, too.

I did a lot of cleaning today while the kids kept themselves occupied and helped out a bit. K spent a lot of the day learning HTML and working on her new website. She was so thrilled to figure out how to add great stuff - I have no idea how to do any of it myself. W and I perused a kids science catalog. J played on the piano keyboard for a long time, making up really nice songs with chords. I would love for her to take lessons - she has such an ear for music - but she doesn't want to. K would rather have guitar lessons. J and W shucked corn for dinner and when W fell asleep at 9 we played a 2-hour game of Monopoly. J was the banker and did great at it. She won the game, too. She felt bad for K and me since we were losing so badly and purposely made weak trades so we could get back some money (all 4 railroads for Electric Company? Sure, ok! LOL). It's late, and they're still up. I think they're waiting for B to get home. He has been getting home after midnight all week and leaves at 8am. They don't get to see him at all. Well, it's only until next Sunday.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I have been tagged.

10 years ago I was: Almost 26. K was almost 2 and within 3 months I would find out I was pregnant with J. I had just done 2 shows with B - a big musical comedy and a Disney Cabaret. I drove a red Pontiac and my hair was way down my back.

5 years ago I was: Almost 31. I was pregnant with W and buying my first minivan. K was starting 2nd grade and J was starting a horrendous year of PreK. I declared myself done with theater and resigned myself to the fact that I would soon become a real Roseanne Connor.

1 year ago I was: Dreading sending J to 3rd grade. I was also beginning my homeschooling adventure with tons of research and growing confidence. W was starting PreK and K was starting 6th grade. Our cc debt was way down. I was glued to the tv watching all the 9/11 specials.

Yesterday: I paid the bills and realized our cc debt has more than doubled since last year. I went to the mall with the kids and spent too much money. I ate sushi and chicken fingers and bought myself some much needed clothes. I cleaned the living room and let K make dinner (cooked chicken wrapped in biscuit dough, with fries). I swore I'd go food shopping the next day.

5 snacks I enjoy: Oreos, butter-pecan ice cream, McDonald's fajitas, grapes, and mangoes

5 songs I know all the words to: 1,2 Step (Ciara), Behind These Hazel Eyes (K. Clarkson), Hollaback (G. Stefani), Bellydancer (Akon), We Belong Together (M. Carey)

5 things I would do with 100 million dollars: Build up the fund for retirement, build up the fund for the kids' college, pay off all debt, buy a house, pay off mom's mortgage.

5 places I would run away to: Venice, Maine, Hawaii, The Netherlands, Oregon

5 things I would never wear: Gold lame, stilletto heels, a bikini, doorknocker earrings, a pleated skirt.

5 favorite tv shows: Lost, Survivor, American Idol, Days of Our Lives, Little House on the Prairie.

5 bad habits: Smoking, Cursing, intolerance, impatience, laziness (I'm a nice person, though, I swear!!)

5 biggest joys: K, J, W, singing in front of a big audience, and being thin

5 favorite toys: computer, television, puzzle book, satellite radio, and new planner

5 fictional characters I would date: Uncle Jesse from Full House, Dustin from As the World Turns (back in 1984), Batman (the new one), Gaston from Beauty and the Beast (so? I'm shallow), and Prince Charming.

5 people I tag to do this: Janet
I just do not understand what's going on in New Orleans. People stayed when told (and given plenty of time) to leave. Those who felt they should stay (or couldn't afford to move themselves northward) were given a place for shelter from all the windblown debris and rising water. 10,000 people went there. Now, days later, they are complaining that it's not live-able in there (don't know what they expected at a STADIUM). So, ok, they start stealing from supermarkets, drug stores, the gun and tv section at Walmart (?!?!). Oh, and smile at the camera while they're at it. Then they decide it's a good idea to shoot at the rescue helicopters, hijack the medical supply trucks, and beat and rape each other. Then they complain that no one is coming to help them fast enough. Nope, I don't get it.

I know that NYC hasn't had a Category 4 hurricane hit us, but we did have 9/11 and a pretty huge blackout recently. In both situations, NYC'ers banded together and helped each other in every way possible. Hundreds living here held up "Thank You" signs welcoming rescuers into downtown Manhattan. Regular folks directed traffic and gave strangers rides home. The tiny amount of looting was practically a non-issue. Everyone helped everyone. We didn't shoot each other, steal from each other, or sit around and do nothing waiting for those outside the city to help. I don't even think the recent tsunami brought forth this much violence and law-breaking.

What I am seeing on tv yesterday and today is heart-breaking, but the attitudes of many of the people down there are disgusting. The clean-up effort is now going to take a lot longer than it should.