Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Swap has Started!

    I woke up today and decided to just lay in bed and finish reading my book.  It was cloudy and I know we didn't have anything really planned for our day so I decided to enjoy it.  The boys all got up one by one and migrated downstairs.  They watched TV, played video games and ate breakfast.  They were quiet and happy so I was content to leave them be. Once I finished my book I exercised, ate, dressed and got ready for the day.  I always take a quick (or not so quick) look at all my e-mails, my Facebook account and possibly even this blog.  It all depends on my mood and today I took a long time also paying bills and looking up the weather forecast.  The boys were still quietly getting along and Ian had switched to watching Yukon Men.   He's completely obsessed with the idea of living off the land and I'm starting to think that one day he'll head to Alaska to see what it's all about. 
   I started cleaning the house and warned the boys that since we have slacked off on our daily cleaning chores this week we were going to have to work extra hard to get caught up.  I find I have to keep running back and forth from each one as they clean and ask "is this good?" or "how do I?..." type questions and I don't have time to clean alongside them so I let them be for a while as I started cleaning.  I eventually called them up and told them to get ready for the day while I finished up the room I was working on and then it would be their turn.  They each picked a bathroom or two and started cleaning.  I inspected each one as they said they were done and showed them how to clean better if it was needed. 
   It was 10:30 and I was feeling pretty guilty that it was Wednesday and we had yet to start school; our only day of school scheduled for this week!  We assembled at the table and I pulled out our first postcard that we received last night.  The swap officially started today but one eager family sent theirs out last week and the boys were so excited to see that in the mail last night.  I had promised we could sit and read it this morning as we started school.  Not one to break my promises, we read all about the state of Washington and studied the picture on the front.  Alec loved hearing that their state animal was the Orca whale.  I pulled out the sample post cards the boys had written up the other day and asked them each to pick two postcards to copy their sample onto.  I wrote all 6 address onto the cards and ended up writing up Evan's two postcards.  I realized he was never going to be able to fit his words into the tiny little boxes on the cards.  Ian wrote so small he actually added a few more sentences onto his cards.  The older boys wrote first in pencil, had me correct/ check it, and then went over their words in pen.  I promised to buy erasable pens for next month and I told them that this was the ONLY month they'd have to sit and write two postcards at once.  Now that we have all the addresses we can fill them out at our leisure and just make sure to mail them on time.  We talked about how addresses are written and where the stamp goes. 

    As we were finishing up our postcards, Evan asked me to do his Verbal Math lesson with him.  Not one to argue when anyone asks to do school I agreed and we went into the other room.  We sat on the couch and I asked him 25 math word problems; he got them all right!  As I finished with him, Alec asked if he could have a turn with his lesson but first wanted to bring a protein bar in with him.  "I pretend it's ambrosia and that's brain food."  He too answered 25 word problems and got most of them right.  I can always tell his thinking pattern and those times I must look at him funny or something he willingly shares what he was thinking in his head.  He has his own way of divining patterns.  I warned him we were going to try dividing by 10 for our math minute and I was reviewing some of the easier ones like 20 divided by 10 and after about 3 questions he looks at me and says "oh, it's easy, you just take away the zero at the end so if it's like 220 divided by 10 it's just 22!"  Needless to say he passed his math minute with much time to spare!  It was Ian's turn for Verbal math and he did great.  He's much more methodical than Alec and likes to take his time but I noticed him getting much quicker today; a few times I had barely finished asking the question and he was already answering me.  I reviewed some of the math facts for the division set we were working on and he too finally noticed that he needed to take a zero off the end to come up with his answer but he got flustered with the timer and was so mad at himself that he only managed to get 14 of the 16 questions.  Once again I found myself reassuring him that is was only his first quiz and to cut himself some slack.  It wasn't "only 14 of the 16" it was "wow! my first try and I got 14 of the 16 questions!"  He smiled but I'm not sure he really believed me. 
    I've stopped asking the boys to read during the day as part of school since I've noticed they are both reading at night before bed for longer than they ever used to.  We had to turn Alec's light off for him last night and pry the book out of his hands while he was sleeping.  I also figured they had just been writing and spelling a lot which I know they HATE to do and I didn't want to push it.  Evan, however hadn't written or anything and so I asked him if wanted to finished up his first reading lesson in his book of 20 reading lessons.  He excitedly agreed and we finished it up pretty quickly.  I showed him the letters for lesson two and he told me the names of the letters, the sounds they make and the animals they're using for the lesson.  I asked him if he likes the book.  It's really a library book we're borrowing but I figured if he liked it I could/ should order it for us to have.  He told me he thinks it's fun and it's really helping him so that's great.  After finishing the lesson he then re-read The Deep Blue Sea to me.
    They wanted to go visit my grandmother and funny enough she called and asked if we could come visit after lunch.  I agreed and we settled in to have lunch.   Each of the boys made their own lunch but since they all had to cook there was some fighting and tears over using the toaster oven.  I pretty much ignored it all and let them work it out on their own while I wandered off to fold laundry and wait for them to settle down.  Once it was quiet in the kitchen I offered to read some more of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  They sat (or drew or ate) quietly while I read and then we packed up and headed to my grandmother's.
   We had a nice afternoon of snacking, TV viewing and visiting.  Evan loves to play with my grandmother's cat and reminded me of the time the reflection from my cell phone excited the cat enough to have him jumping up on the walls.  He realized a flash light would work the same way and ran off to find one.  He soon came back with a great big light and started playing with the cat.  He was giggling and laughing.   It was so cute. 
    We stayed at my grandmother's until dinnertime and listened to The Mark of Athena on the way home.  Once home they set the table and went off to play in the sand, on their bikes, throughout the house, etc.  They played with their cousins and reluctantly came in to eat.  At dinner they started asking all kinds of questions about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios since they know we're going to be headed there soon.  They talked about their day and negotiated what they HAD to eat in order to enjoy a nice yummy ice cream treat tonight.  Evan ate green beans, broccoli and spinach!  It was such a huge feat for him since he hates pretty much all vegetables but we praised him and I'm hoping over time he'll develop a taste for some sort of vegetable. 
    After dinner they all went to play soccer and I enjoyed a nice quiet house to myself.  My husband really enjoys playing soccer and is eager to teach the boys the correct way to play.   Alec is starting to enjoy it so much he asked to play soccer here at our house after his soccer practice last night!  Evan wanted to play but really wants his own pair of cleats.  Guess I'll be digging through our shoe bins tomorrow to see if we have any old ones that would fit him. 

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