New Seasons! New Habits! New Routines!

I’m not even going to try to make this an interesting concept, I’m just going to be honest with you:

My dog is pooping outside.

giphy-1.gif                                                            Across the board excited.

Right now, at this very moment, at the brink of morning I am wearing my cement-gray slippers, Ben’s hoodie and a quilt my mom made (and pants, just to be thorough)…on my front porch.

It is a balmy 43F right now, but with no wind and a bright, patchy blue sky.

What would draw me outside at this hour, you might ask?

Well, ever since St.Sebastian got his casts off, we have been able to go outside to poop. See, I couldn’t take him outside when his casts were on because it was wet and rainy outside, and I didn’t want his casts to get wet. So, we tried to have designated places for him in the house…

This was a 25% success.

Because 25% of the time, he used the puppy pads we put out. The rest of the time we would find his spots, which was getting tiresome.

However, now that the casts are off…and it is not 27F outside and the ground is not frozen and I can go outside with a hoodie and pajama pants and not freeze solid…we are starting new routines! New habits!

New successes!!

Every morning for the past week I have taken St.Sebastian outside for about an hour. I have had my coffee, blanket, hoodie and laptop and read the news outside, watching little man explore the front yard and all its foresty smells.

I am just excited about this because the dog has to stop peeing in my kitchen at some point.

And now we are a normal dog family where I have to take him outside every so often, like a normal dog.

It’s just nice when things work out the way they are supposed to  🙂

 

 

 

 

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The Cure For Introvert Hangovers: Making Soup

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“Extroverts want us to have fun, because they assume we want what they want. And sometimes we do. But “fun” itself is a “bright” word, the kind of word that comes with flashing lights and an exclamation point! One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of “fun” is “violent or excited activity or argument.” The very word makes me want to sit in a dimly lit room with lots of pillows—by myself.”

-Laurie A. Helgoe, Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength

It is undeniable that dog owners tend to have dogs which reflect themselves.

You have seen those comparison pictures, where the Winston Churchill doppleganger is sitting next to his English bulldog, sporting matching jowls. Or the svelte art gallery curator with the Afghan Hound companion. Dogs are delightful companions in life, and it only makes sense that we would seek out like minded individuals to accompany us. It would be absurd to introduce a Border Collie into your home if you are more on the homebody side; likewise, a person who enjoys hiking every weekend will find a corgi rather cumbersome on the trails.

Which is why I found a Pomeranian for my home.

Pomeranians are intelligent, playful, friendly, and wonderfully mischievous.  They are definitely more of an extrovert than any other dog I can think of, and require balanced and regular socialization.

They adore you, your family, your friends, your friends’ friends, your friends’ dogs, their friends, the cat, the UPS driver, the UPS driver’s friends and every person they meet when you go for a walk.

They are an active breed, but not too active. They would love nothing more than to go for long walks, run up the stairs, play fetch, run around the yard, hide behind trash cans or attempt to climb a tree.

For a few minutes.

And then they are done. And they need to recharge.

I completely understand the need to love everyone around me, sometimes a little too much (“You can stop hugging me Tamarah.” “BUT I LOVE YOU”.)

I completely understand when I have socialized quite enough, and need to recharge.

Last night I reached the banks of my socialization. I needed to spend time seeing people and being a social butterfly…but my Pomeranian energy limit peaked quicker than I expected.

There has been enough time spent trying to talk over deafening EDM soundtracks, underneath a rotating chandelier which swung gently next to the nefarious trapeze apparatuses (..?).

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-4-02-27-pmClick here for a video…you know you want to.

I had enjoyed moving from room to room and talking with people in Sales, Marketing, Engineering, and one 8 foot tall man who was the +1 of Stephanie (I think that was her name…). The night was filled with loud, flashing, dancing rooms…it was enormously fun for the extroverts who organized the event, and they did a fantastic job coordinating it all for us.

This morning, however, will be spent in bed. Under a very heavy blanket. In a quiet room. Eating soup.

I truly believe that every great introvert experiences truly great introvert hangovers.

An introvert hangover occurs after you have enjoyed catching up with friends, attending very loud parties, staying up far too late, and talking for longer than half an hour.

The deep and meaningful conversations counterbalanced the well-studied art of small talk; which has its place in conversation, despite the nay-sayers.

On one hand, there was a very good friend who I got to talk to for a long time, over sazeracs and fries, about her service dog training adventures (and some frustrating mis-adventures). This entire setting was completely worth getting dressed up and out of the house for.

On the other hand, through my journey of small talk, I found a farmer from North Carolina who grew up on vegetable farms! How often do you find farmers from North Carolina who grew up on a vegetable farm, in tech? I wouldn’t have known this without the power of small talk.

Other people I met were a couple who also met in high school, and are more than happily married. I also got to see some old friends and catch up with who is having babies, and who is moving to Oregon.

But after the night was over, and Ben and I got on the ferry to come home, my body let me know that it was done.

More than done.

I walked through the ferry terminal and made it onto the ferry. I fell asleep on a bench in the ferry. I got into our car and fell asleep on the way home. I plunged myself into bed and fell asleep under my big, squishy purple blanket. I continued to sleep well into the morning, and finally had my first cup of coffee at noon.

It has been a quiet day here. We have been reading, drinking water, eating some fruits to promise my body that I won’t subject it to sazerac and french fry dinners any more, and making soup.

I love the social adventures I find, and I especially love seeing friends and new friends.

For today, and for this weekend, though, I love recharging and being alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homeschooling Mid-Year Planning: Language Arts

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Homeschooling comes with its own varieties of idiosyncrasies and prejudices, just like any brand of education.

Public school varieties are positive we are teaching our kids in the basement wearing handmade Amish bonnets and feeding them conspiracy-laced bunker oatmeal while mentally depriving them of “actual education.” Homeschoolers are pretty certain we’re all 3 grades ahead in math, and our 2nd grader actually loves Chaucer (no one loves Chaucer), and our neighbor’s sister’s cousin’s kid taught himself Latin in Kindergarten. In the car.

3rd declension FTW!

I remember one time when I was in a homeschool coo-op meeting, and I told everyone I loved using textbooks.

*laughs maniacally*

Yeah, they nearly lynched me for that.

Textbooks omg that is so boring wouldn’t you prefer to teach your kids pre-algebra by cutting potatoes into quarters and saying it’s fractions?? Look, if you flip the potato over, it’s a reciprocal!

No, that’s not how math works.

Not on my watch.

We may be homeschoolers, but we go by the book. Because they aren’t going to give us snacks or do-overs during the SAT, and we’re not messing around over here.

However, you can make learning something you love…and something your kids will love.

Watch:

I have a struggling reader. She hated reading, even though her mother has a degree in Literature and our entire house is surrounded by amazing books, and fought sitting through any stretch of reading exercise she was given.

Dyslexia isn’t an easy mountain to climb.

But this girl loves her some scary stories. If it’s gross, disgusting, creepy, disfigured, in the dark and named “BoogeyBoo,” she is all into it.

So when she found “Goosebumps” on Netflix, she nearly lost her mind.

And so did her little sister who couldn’t sleep for days after. We had to oust “Goosebumps” from the TV, just for the sake of some people’s mental well-being, and everyone agreed it was for the best.

One day, we were at the library. Lo and behold, an entire section of the library devoted to R.L. Stein’s “Goosebumps.” Have you ever seen a girl so excited in your life??

No. No you haven’t. Because she checked out her favorite stories, and read book after book until she was finished. She loved it. She loved reading. Oh sure, it wasn’t Chaucer or any of the Bronte sisters….but that’s because those books are other people’s favorite books. These were her favorite books.

Literature is a personal journey. The stories and characters speak to you, where you are. 

Sometimes you are 38 and love “The Turn of The Screw,” and sometimes you are 13 and love spooky stories about haunted ventriloquist dummies.

Reading can be in books, in magazines, in journals or articles…and sometimes it is hard to know where to find what you’re looking for!

Besides the library, here are 5 other places we use to find great material for reading!

 

1. ReadWorks   http://about.readworks.org/

 

I love ReadWorks because there is a lot of very high quality material there, with options of subjects and grades. This morning I printed out a 24 page packet for 8th grade, and we are going to be studying mental and emotional health this week. We are covering comprehension, vocabulary, themes and bigger ideas. My 1st grader is studying articles about bugs 🙂

 

2. LiteracyTA  https://www.literacyta.com/lta-toolkit

Okay, so I found this last year, and it has changed my life. Like, more than any other site…but it is kind of intense, and you have to navigate through it a bit. But once you get it figured out, there are entire lessons on writing you can use. Make a cup of tea and find a quiet corner in the house (that isn’t the bathroom) and get into this one. It will not disappoint.

 

3. Starfall  http://www.starfall.com/

An oldie but a goodie, and always a favorite. Particularly for younger kids and beginning readers, you cannot go wrong with Starfall.

 

4. Reading Rainbow  https://www.readingrainbow.com/

A new favorite in our house! We have been subscribers to the Skybrary for over a year now, and it has been amazing. There are stories, games, and very easy navigation between worlds (see: genres) for older kids and younger kids.

 

5. Newslea  https://newsela.com/

This is a great resource for kids to get involved with current events. Instead of letting your kids loose into the nefarious articles of CNN or The New York Times, Newslea is a much safer portal into the world. You can create personal logins for your kids, and have particular subjects listed, rather than just getting the full firehose of news blasted at you. Highly recommended.

 

 

A New Year, A New Page.

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Last year was the year of letting things go.

Which is a BIG DEAL for me. I don’t just let things go.

I wrestle with them until they are shreds of scraps, and by then I have nothing left to wrestle with. So, I figure I’ll move on. I guess.

For instance, last year we finally got rid of old furniture we brought with us that fit in our home before just fine, but here they were large and cumbersome. Now, we have smaller furniture to fit in our smaller rooms, and we aren’t squeezing past dilapidated IKEA couches in order to get the laundry into the laundry room. Those days are OVAH!  We now have a charming gray loveseat with colored buttons, and it sits neatly *next to* the doorway, instead of covering the doorway.

IMG_4288.JPGLook at all this room for activities!!

Change. Change is good.

Last year I bootstrapped our homeschooling (again) and we have done everything that I wanted to do. We are creating, writing, studying cell biology, learning about world history, figuring out state history (which is nuts), and we are organized… we are on a darn-near military agenda…I say laughingly, since the military might also make their beds every morning. And not march in pajamas. And the marines probably finish their work quickly and don’t lose all their pencils by the end of the week….okay, okay. Maybe not “military grade” agenda, but it’s still an awesome agenda we have working!

I have started painting again, which I really didn’t think I’d get into any more…even though I think about it all the time. But at this point of my life I’m not nursing anymore, I’m not pregnant, I am officially out of toddler season since my youngest just turned 5, what, and things are pretty solid. So, I’ve painted a few things…and I love it just as much as I remember:

However, the word is my passion…and I am happy to report that I am over halfway finished with my second book of poetry.

And I am planning on finishing it and submitting it to publication and all that mess sooner rather than later.

This year I already have a load of plans and projects on our calendar.

The boys are building like crazypeople. They built some moving crane the size of a coffee table last month, are always putting together stop-motion videos, and have rearranged their bedroom and removed doors from their closet in order to fully utilize the space so they can have a better and more efficient work environment.

Just sayin’: they don’t get that from me.

The girls, on the other hand, are a beautiful chaos of creating, sewing, painting, drawing, ripping up, recreating and storytelling.

That’s from me 😉

IMG_4289.JPGI might actually need to clean my desk.

So what are we going to do this year?

Well, we have to wait until TOMORROW  to watch the Rose Parade, because they don’t do it on Sunday. I remember having this dilemma 7 years ago…

Otherwise:

A little of the foundational…exploring, inventing, discovering.

And a little of the new…we’ll see!