home schooling lite

Jeremy spilled the beans on this one today - it wasn't a secret but it's been an intense few weeks leading up to the decision and I wanted to feel sure before I posted about it. It comes down to the fact that my bright, intense, creative, curious daughter has a wicked time adjusting to school in fall. What is even worse is to see her a month or two later, coming home either gray and monotone or feverishly bright eyed and manic, wildly assuring us that it's all good. Which it's not. I'd like to avoid starting Ella in the system altogether although I suspect she'd have an easier time of it (does that make it better or worse?).

For Ivy school is academically dull and socially isolating. I wonder if that applies to most kids, judging from what we've heard from other parents. Why is this something we should be adjusting to? Because it's "good for us" to "get used to the way the world works"? Ivy will have no trouble learning at home and will not become a social freak, as so many people seem convinced will happen with home schooling. She has some good friendships outside of school but the free for all that is called recess hasn't been "good socializing" for anyone we know. Can you feel the cynicism through the quotation marks?

We are enrolling both girls in the home learning program through the district this year (hence home schooling lite). They will go in to a class one day a week with other home learners from k-grade 7. The kids go on field trips together and are provided with other learning opportunities like music lessons. The other bonus of staying registered within the district is that Ivy can still go to her gifted class one afternoon a week - she didn't want to give that up. The thought of being given curriculum that I'm supposed to "teach" gets my back up but I'm willing to acknowledge that it's a reasonable starting point - I really have no idea what I'm getting into.

It feels good. Terrifying and exhilarating. I need to stay focussed long enough to quell the occasional panic and get the paperwork done, then I'll level off. Before long it will settle into the new normal and that will be the real test. I'm hoping I'll be motivated to provide honest updates once in a while. At this time it really feels like the right choice but who knows until you've done it? This has all lead to a lot of reflection on my own school experiences, or is it the other way around? I'll save that therapeutic spewing for a late night when I'm alone with a bottle of wine. Which isn't likely to happen anytime soon.


computer time

I've spent more time on the computer this week than usual, maybe because it hasn't been hot enough for the beach. I fancied up my template, updated some links and am working on tagging old posts. My poor "Local Bounty" blog has been languishing. Not sure if I'll revive it. I love the idea but time and energy are not forthcoming. Maybe another year.

Oh yes, and I finally joined Facebook, a few years behind the curve. Part of me still wants to run screaming from the whole mess but the other part wants to check in with friends and family I haven't seen in years.

But really, who has the time for all of this if they don't "work" online?


Ezra's one year list


He's one today and I've had a lot of "a year ago today..." moments. A year ago at this time I was feeling Ezra's head coming down while knowing the midwife was still a few minutes away. Now that's excitement.

There have been so many rapid developments in the last weeks so I'll throw a list out there for posterity.

-He took his first steps last week. Five at a time, twice in a row without falling. He just stopped mid-room and sat down. Hasn't done it since although he stands alone and yells when he's thinking about it.

- Communication. This is bliss. He understands some common phrases and actually responds to them. He's known things like "don't touch" for a while but now he's getting things like "where's your ball?". He's figured out shaking his head for "no" (along with furious screams, that works too) and can point to what he really wants. His talking sounds are developing great inflection and more interesting range. It's more babble instead of screeches and grunts and that's a most welcome development.

- He has started waving although it's a bit random. His first real wave in response to somebody else's was to a stranger in a truck that wasn't even waving at him unfortunately.

- The kid has a wicked throwing arm. He damaged my knee this week with a large rock. I am shocked by his strength and coordination on this front.

- Up and down stairs like a pro and happily climbing ladders. This has been an issue with both the playhouse and the girls' bunk bed. The bed ladder is removed during the day and we've taken the bottom rungs out of the outdoor ladders (thanks to dad for thinking ahead on that one last year when he built it!).

- He's been exercising his right to refuse food/drink. Even when he wants it. It's like he's bound by some internal compulsion to loudly reject it the first two times it's offered and then he voraciously accepts. And then sometimes spews it dramatically in our faces. Kids.

- He's snuggly. He's been this way most of the time but he's getting better at giving snuggles. When he wakes up in the early morning he'll often crawl onto my chest or rest his head on it to fall back asleep. He's used to sleeping with someone and likes to have some contact, even if it's just a toe touching me. He's a great hugger and gives very excited, soggy cheek kisses. With the occasional bite.

- 7 teeth. They all showed up in pairs except for one of the lower ones, it's still waiting for it's mate...rather odd since it's been about 3 months.

- Balls are his absolute favorite toy (see "throwing" above). He is best at entertaining himself when he has a ball he can throw or roll around and then chase.

- He has recently caught on to books. We despaired for a while because he showed no interest at all but now he's really into being read to for short periods of time. Maybe it has to do with his sisters having their noses in books a lot.

- He's nearly weaned. I waffle on this one but for better or worse he's down to one early morning nurse every day. It's very cozy and sweet but it's almost over. I've celebrated our smooth nursing relationship and am trying not to get overly emotional about moving on. I know there's no rush but on the other hand I really crave the transition to having my body and hormones to myself. Not that I share my hormones exactly but they will be more predictable if aren't constantly readjusting to new demands.

I'm sure there's more but if you made it this far you probably know him well enough that you already knew this all about him anyway!

As I sign off a year ago at this moment I was pushing and less that 10 minutes from meeting my babe.

Update: Jeremy put together a 1-year tribute video of Ezra

bed building

I've wanted a frame to replace the old metal bed frame & box spring that we had for years so when my dad was out in July he built one for me. I'd like to say he helped me build it but I didn't do much aside from consulting and holding the occasional piece of wood. It was fun to work through the process and see it come together. I love the finished bed and can't believe how long I put up with the old one. The tools we used were a drill, skill saw, small square, measuring tape and a basic mitre saw (not required but made some cuts much easier). I love the simplicity of it.

The main frame (that became the inside rails) was built of 2x4 studs.

We added 2x4 legs and a mid-beam with two legs for extra stability.

For appearance we nailed pine 1x8 boards around the outside of the 2x4's.

The slats are on the beefy side - 1x6's tacked together with thin plywood to keep them from sliding and to make assembly/disassembly easier.

After this photo my dad added pieces of 1x6 pine around the outer edges of the legs so they look thicker and more finished. I have yet to sand down the edges to soften the look and make it a little more baby (and toe) friendly. I'm not sure yet if I'll put any finish on it.

I'll have to do this justice with a "finished" photo someday. I'm certainly not about to take a flash photo late in the evening with a messy room so you're out of luck.

fitness update

Hmm, yeah. I guess "4's" was aiming too high. The good news is I've had 2 or 3 good workouts a week since the last post and it feels great, even if it falls short of the goal. It leaves room for improvement, right?