Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Public Service Warning

I will not have computer access for nearly a week. If you hear nothing from me please do not be concerned. I will return to blogging at my earliest convenience. Have a great week!

Tooth of a Tale

Yesterday I noticed the boy's tooth was getting looser as it had descended and was wiggling much more than before. I figured within the week he would lose it. Hubby and I had a meeting to attend last night. When we returned I noticed the tooth sitting next the the bathroom sink. Interesting...he lost it sooner than I expected but not a real surprise. Hubby and I decide to give him $5 on his pillow. We don't "do" tooth fairy but we do give him cash. Usually we have been present for the occasion and hand it over shortly after. Anyway, I climb up the ladder to his loft and place the $5 on his pillow. This morning I wake him to take his dad to work and tell him to look on his pillow. He finds the cash and asks what it's for. I point to my teeth and he smiles. Lays back down and examines the bill with a cute grin on his face. Then dad calls out to look again. What??? Nothing on top of the pillow, he looks under, another $5. Apparently hubby thinks loosing teeth is a big deal. But ten dollars. Then the kid mentions that his aunt stopped by to pay him for house sitting, another $10. He then runs off to get his save envelope in which he had $12. His grin went to a full blown smile when he realized that he had $32. He put it all back in his envelope. I have no idea what he wants to spend it on or if he will continue to save it.
Later I got the story of how it came out. He was chewing on a yoyo string and when he pulled it out it got caught on his tooth and pulled it out in the process. Inadvertently he tried something similar to his grandpa. Whom tied a string to the tooth and a door. Anyway, tooth is out, the kid is rich.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tinman Tri

The triathlon on Saturday was a success. When I mentioned it was a fitness tri, it was totally a fitness tri. While not as organized as my first, it was totally a blast. Since it was in a pool the field went in heats. 5 heats for the women and 5 for men. Making approximately 100-120 athletes. I was in heat 2. The swim was strong and I was thankful it was in a pool rather than murky water. The bike was 4 times around the same course. Since there was two hills on the course it made for 8 hills on the bike. The run was a mile course that we had to run twice. With one wicked hill it meant we had to do it twice. Considering the hills which I had not expected I was happy with my time of 1 hour, 2 minutes and 24 seconds. Within my target range. Yippee! One great part of being in an early heat was that I was able to cheer all of my friends in, which was so much fun. The group of people I have had the privilege of training with are incredible. It was so awesome to see them accomplishing their goals. Everyone finished. And as more came in the cheering got louder and louder. Great stuff.

I am currently not signed up for anymore triathlons this year but I am planning on biking the Women on Wheels event in July. If anyone is interested in joining me... 18 miles with 2 breaks along the way. YES, THIS MEANS YOU CAN DO IT!!! My son and I did it two years ago when I was TERRIBLY out of shape. So if your interested let me know.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tri #2

This morning I will be racing in the Jackson Tinman Triathlon. It appears that it is more fitness than competitive. The swim is in a pool for 200 meters. Biking for 8 miles and running for 2 miles. All distances are less than my previous race so I am hoping to drop my time to under 1:05. Ecstatic if under an hour.
If you think of me, pray for strength and focus. Thanks.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Session

Summer in our home is in FULL EFFECT. We are having a blast geocaching, canoing, swinging off ropes and picnics galore. We are spending more time outdoors than indoors which is exactly how I like it.
While we are living it up summer style I do not want to the kids to lose skills during the break. My solution is "Skill of the day!" Each morning after breakfast I have a simple task for the kids to complete. It could take 2 minutes or 10 depending on their focus.

Tasks thus far have included:
Read a sentence I laid out using sight word cards. Write the sentence in notebook and draw a picture to show comprehension.
Spelling words and writing date
Math worksheet
Handwriting practice sheet
Read early reader

For little girl:
Counting to 30
Basic letter trace
Singing phonic songs
Ordering numbers 1-9
Days of the week
Matching shapes

What I like about it...
It allows them to sharpen skills without huge time restraints.
I can tailor it each day so over a weeks time we can touch a variety of subjects.
I can see what skills need work and where they are excelling.
The kids don't complain because it is not burdensome to do one of anything.
Sometimes they ask for more stuff to do (usually little girl.)
Shows learning is important and you should never stop learning.
Easy way to introduce new concepts.
Being in the morning they know that the day ahead is theirs once completed.
It is super easy to come up with one thing.
It can be done on vacation or during sleepovers.

While we focus on a skill in the morning, I know that learning is taking place all day as we explore our world and play. Hope you are enjoying your summer! We most definitely are.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Creek Pictures 1

The following are pictures taken from our day at the creek. My dad has an incredibly awesome camera. To view in ful detail click on the picture.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Pictures at the Creek

For the rest of the story see here.
Hope you enjoyed the pictures of our day. If you live in the area and want to know where this place is...call me. Information too classified to give out over the net..heehee.

Touch a Truck Day

I took my son to this a couple of years ago and we had a blast. Well worth a trip out.

The Lansing Police Department, North Precinct, in collaboration with the
Police Athletic League and the HOPE Scholars program, are sponsoring a
free Touch-a-Truck Day at the North Precinct, 740 May Street, on Saturday,
June 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There will be trucks from many
different disciplines, including Semi-Trailer Trucks, Fire Engines, Police
Vehicles, a CATA bus, an ambulance, a bucket truck, some Army vehicles and
trash vehicles, as well as a cement truck and a wrecker. There will be
hot dogs and chips, face painting, balloons, music, and other activities
that may draw a group of children from elementary through high school.
This will be a family affair for anyone in the mid-Michigan area. Many
young people don?t see themselves as candidates for professions such as
teaching, computer programming, or other typical office jobs. This would
give them a glimpse of other rewarding, high paying and challenging types
of employment.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Too Good To Be True?

With summer in full effect we were ready to get to the creek. The plans had been in the making for almost a week. We arrived to an empty park, found a picnic table and threw down the blanket. Next to arrive my sister and her kids. Then my parents with two of my nieces and nephews.
It took a matter of seconds for the kids to make their way into the water. The creek is a diamond in the rough. A gem of a place that few know about. It has a rope swing, a bridge, a small playground and lots of wildlife.
Little girl at first stayed in the shallow playing with a bucket and water wheel. While the older kids went time and again off the rope swing. They played on the old merry-go-round. They went hunting for frogs.
I decided I wanted to check out the creek for a good spot to hide a cache so I went further down away from the action. That is when I spotted it. A huge fish. For the size of the creek it was gigantic. I went back to home base and picked up the net and 5 gallon bucket. I was determined I was going to catch it. My dad doubted my prowess. But looking for adventure I set off with one of the nephews as back-up. We spotted him right away and I eased into the water. Taking one look at my net I knew it was too small for him so I sent my boy back to get another bucket. While he was gone I brought the net up to his tail and he moved a little up stream. I repositioned the net, waited for the boy and waited and waited. So I decided I would see what I could do with the net. I swooped in and made my catch. He went to thrashing. I went to steadying the net. Since I was a small butterfly net it came off the rod. Freed from my control he settled right back on the bottom, still completely in the net and unable to escape. My son finally arrived with the extra bucket which was WAY TOO small for the fish so we took the frog out of the 5 gallon bucket and brought that into the water to scoop him out. He was so big he did not even fit in the 5 gallon bucket. I worked him around a bit until he was in. Then we began our victory march back to show the others. Only it was really heavy so I had my nephew carry it. He carried it for a bit then a guy that was at the park with his family brought it in the rest of the way. He declared it a carp. Not good eating but good bragging. I figure he was about 2 feet long. After everyone got a look at him he released him back into the creek and he swam away. Not too far at first so my dad got a couple pictures of him in the water. So I caught me a big one!
It was around this time that some of the bigger kids let little girl have a try on the rope swing. She's pretty gutsy. She went right out and then my 6 year old niece would pick her up off the rope and take her to shallower water. After many times of this we realized that she could touch so we encouraged her to put her feet down herself. At first she was not so sure of this idea and it took some coaxing. She had it pretty good with the whole carry me like a princess thing. Finally she realized she could touch and she felt so big. She went again and again and again and again. Until we made her stop to warm up.
We spent six hours at the creek yesterday. It was picture perfect. Almost too good to be true. No toilet paper in the porta-potty, back to reality.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

End of the Year Celebration

Yesterday marked the end of our first and successful school year. To mark the day I gave each of the kids a blank cassette tape and recorded them doing a variety of things. Such as displaying their knowledge. For little girl that would be ABC's, counting to 29, spelling her name, singing songs and reciting the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear. For the boy it included ABC's, counting to 107, counting by 10's and 5's, to 10 in Spanish, spelling words and reading a couple of books. They also shared some of their favorite things. They both enjoyed hamming it up and listening to their voices at the end.
In the evening we attended the end of the year celebration with our homeschool support system. Michigan Bomb Squad was there with their robot used to retrieve bombs, scope areas and bring notes in hostage negotiations. The boy got to man the control's and pick up my toxic shoe. We also got to meet Rob Dale our local Meteorologist. My son has been a big fan of his for a couple years now. He is the first "celebrity" name he ever recognized. When his weather reports come on the radio, we have to stop any and all discussion to hear his report. So of course the kids enjoyed meeting him and getting to check out his storm tracker van. The kids also enjoyed meeting the K-9 unit for our local police department. The kids got to pet him and ask questions about the dogs job. Pretty cool stuff.
Then it was time to eat and I am not sure how many people were there but by the looks of the potluck table and the one dish to pass per family, I would say 70 families were present. Multiply all the children and there were a lot of people there. Lots of people, lots of food.
After the meal the firetruck arrived. The firefighters sprayed the kids and they had a blast getting drenched. Mine also decided to play in the sand and dive into mud puddles.
Directly following they assembled everyone to call the kids forward. IT was a small way of recognizing their completion of their current grade. Being the bad mom I am I did not have my camera. So you will to use your imagination and picture about 10 kindergarteners in swim suits. Mine caked in sand, all in a line smiling as they receive their pencil reward.
The kids enjoyed the evening. So did I. I had a chance to talk to some other homeschool families and reconnect with an old friend.
I am now ready to embrace summer. All the picnics, play dates, camping and geocaching I can muster.

Congrats to me and the boy on a school year well done.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ya Gotta Press On

About 100 yards into my swim I thought to myself, "You have only just begun." I ran as far as I could into the water and begin to set my pace. I could not find a good breathing pattern. People in front, behind and beside me. Breathing funktified from the run in. I struggled to find my rhythm. Out in open water I had a few choices before me. Turn around. Head for the paddle boat. Tread water. Back stroke. Or press on. I decided to press on. I fought to move forward. I rolled over and back stroked for a bit and realized I was making more progress this way so continued that way to the second buoy. After passing it, I rolled back over and pressed on.
Out of the water I ran up the hill to the transition area. Clicking on the helmet and putting on my shoes I was ready to go on. It took the first mile to catch my breathe and I eased into a nice bike ride. Having forgotten my bike computer at home I just kept pushing myself to keep at it. Just before the end of the course there was a hill that had me pumping and again out of breathe.
Coming in on the bike I took off my helmet, slipped on my running cap and was off. It took the first mile to catch my breathe and then it was a really good run. The last felt better than the first. As we headed into the woods I thought it was a quick jog in the woods. It kept going and going, turns out it was MUCH more in the woods than I originally thought. I pressed on.
As I rounded the bend of that final mile I took off in a sprint. I knew I had made it, I knew I had finished what I set out to accomplish and it was all because I had pressed on.
In my life right now there are things that have me questioning if I will ever make it. Well I ever conquer this house? Some days I feel so defeated I just want to turn around and forget it. Other days I feel like I am just hanging on to the life boat. Some days there is progress and other days I may just be treading water. I need to press on. Someday, hopefully soon, I will accomplish that which I have set out to do but only if I press on.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Yes Sensei

Do you recall Ralph Machio in the movie Karate Kid? Wax on, wax off. Patience Daniel son. Recall the scene where he catches a fly? I was totally reminded of this movie this morning when my son decided to go on a fly swatting rampage.
I do not know where they came from. But over night my house seemed to be home to some giant flies. I set out to find the flyswatter and came up with nothing. That is when my son tells me not to worry he will take care of them. Now I have tried to kill flies bare handed before and I know how fast they can be. I think I looked a little silly, ok very ridiculous, going after a few last night. Not my son, he walked up to the window and bam! Kills it. Then another and another. I was amazed. Before we could do school this morning he had to rid the house of any and all flies that he saw. I think he had like 25 or so before he finally came to the table. Most of them on his first swat, all of them bare handed.
Daniel Son! You kill flies!
Yes sensei...

Sunday, June 03, 2007


I successfully completed my first triathlon! Woohoo...dance dance!
My time was 1 hour 29 minutes 14 seconds.
5 minutes and 46 seconds faster than my goal. I was ecstatic to say the least.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Returned from the East

Last night the kids and I safely returned from our trip out East.

We had a great trip! My aunt married and moved 18 years ago. On occasion we get a chance to go out and visit. This trip my other aunt came along with us. Which made for nice traveling and shared cost for the (outrageous) gas.

Since the travel bugs we brought with us on our trip had goals, we used their goals as a platform of our travel entertainment. I'm a Bill wanted to see the capital, so we took him to DC. Unfortunately we failed to realize that the Rolling Thunder Memorial Bike run would close down over half of DC. Thankfully we found a nice spot along the Platomic River to have a picnic. Then we realized the motorcycles were going over the bridge nearby as the starting point of the ride. So we went up to check it out. I did not expect the flood of emotions that came over me as I watched them go thundering passed. Yound marines in uniform lined the edge of the street. Bikes were decked out with US and POW flags. It was a great way to spend the eve of Memorial Day. It was not that far to walk to Lincoln Memorial, from there we got the shots of the capital that the travel bugs desired.

At one point my boy was standing on the wall with the flag up in the air and someone said it really touched them and asked if they could take his picture.

The next day we took a country drive and (intentionally) found some caches along the way. We saw some beautiful bridges, one of them covered. It was such a great way to spend the day. Beautiful scenery and 12 caches.

On day three of our east adventures we took in some small town shops. The small historic town was cute but I was not impressed with the shops. It seemed that the town was taking a turn for the new age. We did find one nice toy shop with a friendly owner. For lunch we went to a huge mall.

On day four, we returned to DC. Since we could not get access to the Zoo previously, we decided to try again on Wednesday. After all Miss Monkey wanted to visit zoos as did Midnight traveler, whom we picked up on our country cache day. The Nation Zoo in DC is free admission. Bonus. There are many cost that do add up but with planning you can avoid most if not all of them. Since this was our one big event and expense we decided to play the part of tourist. Spending $11 to rent the double stroller (we worth every penny spent for it.) $17 for lunch which included 2 cheetah lunch boxes. $16 for parking, we split this cost. While it cost me about $35 (again you can plan and reduce this cost) we thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the zoo. Little girl could have sat all day watching the different animals. A zookeeper observed her and said "Looks like you have a future biologist." She was so patient to just watch and observe their behavior. I could have spent all day watching the meerkats. There were 2 week old pups that had just emerged from the den. And the Beta female had a fight with the new mother. Drama, I have never watched Meerkat Manor but I think I might like it. Both days we were in DC it was HOT! The kids enjoyed cooling off in this mister at the zoo.

One thing not so pleasant about our trip was the encounter with ticks. After one cache I came out of the woods with my pants covered with them. We brushed them off and went on our way. A couple days later we encountered again. This time a small deer tick was trying to take residency in my flesh. We got it out and cleaned the area with alcohol. Then I checked the kids only to find little girl had one of the larger variety. Normally she freaks out with bugs. This time she has one working its way into her skin and she stayed calm as we removed it. No sign of lime disease, thankfully. I am glad I live in Michigan where these insects are much less of a threat.

Since the triathlon is only days away, I trained while away. One thing about the area I was at, HILLS! As in monstrous hills. I ran or biked everyday. It was a really good workout going up and down those beasts.

Driving home we hit caches along the way. Four states in all. 9 caches. One led us to a nice family restaurant with a duck pond. Others were quick grabs at rest stops. Another was a virtual cache counting the number of a certain landmark. Midas well cache on.

Great trip!