Tuesday, February 28, 2006

How is GD doing?

After posting so much about how GM is doing I realized I hadnt shared much on how GD is. Well he is six, almost seven; which is a hard year for my boys. I remember GM having some spirited times during this age and really exhausting me through it. Well, GD, being spirited by nature, is no exception. He is so tender and sweet. I remember when he was born the first word that came to mind was tender, he has a tender heart, tender eyes, and a tender spirit. He is still very much a little guy, very much still living in that dreamy 5-6 year old world. I see him waking up and connecting with us more and more often. He loves to snuggle and to be held or even carried around the house from time to time. He is light, so I dont mind at all. Seeing how fast GM grew to a size where lifting him is simply not possible, I remember how short these days are and love that he still wants to feel that sense of support and care.

This year GD has decided to read more and more. He is an instinctual reader and has been reading about a book a day for some time now. Small books, but none the less he does it, and of his own will too. He has an enormous imagination, I know exactly where he gets it from too. He will sit and fill a 20-3- page journal in an afternoon filled with a story he drew out in picture form. His mind follows a stream of consciousness style and his stories just evolve and grow the longer he sits there. Where as GM has a vision of the finished idea and fills in until he reaches it, GD will just start with a figure on a page and allow the figure to take him on a long and winding journey. It is fun to watch and I try to support him in it as much as possible. although itmakes times of focus more difficult, I try to remember that the skills that make a child challenging can often be the very keys to their individual success. Gavin wants to tell stories, they live in him and at this tender age he cant differentiate between himself and the stories. They are one. Sometimes I wonder if I should try to pull him out of it, but my heart says to let him enjoy it while he still can. He is waking a little, as I said earlier, but I am trying to support his creativity and his imaginary world as much as possible. Using the Enki and Christopherus approaches to lessons are perfect for him. He gets to express his creativity and use that strength to begin learning about the world and things like math or writing. He is quite happy with it. Since starting this style of living, he has become an eager learner, often asking for more or persuing it on his own. This is the exact place I wanthim to be at, developing that appetite for learning, and feeling the confidence to persue it, even on his own.

His challenges right now are with mischief. Gm was never really mischevious, however GD has that streak in him and loves to be the trickster. He requires a closer eye and is easy to allow too much room. He is strongly affected by images and media too. Where GM doesnt really care about tv or movies so much, GD is drawn to them. So I have to monitor his time more closely. The other challenge with GD is that tender heart. He can be so easily crushed by the world and takes everything to heart. We are a lot alike in that way. I treasure him, as any Mother should, but he is such a soul connection for me. I see a lot of myself in him. It is so funny to see bits of your own personality coming out in a boy child who looks just like my husband. Although, Im pretty sure I listened better when I was 6. The not listening thing is just killing me!! :-)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Playground, Organic Farm, Chickens and Homeschool log...

Things are really coming together for GM. Im still struggling with his ability to maintain his behavior when we are in a group, but I am seeing great strides in other areas. This is a big year for him. He will be nine and is starting to show maturity in a lot of areas, including his interest in doing more things with Dad. They have always been the best of buddies, but when it came down to things, he came to me, he was still really young and I was the focus. Now I am seeing him out working with his Dad, and willing to stick through things and finish them. He helped my husband and I with the playground all day Saturday. Reading the instructions and pulling the appropriate nuts and bolts that we needed. He was using the power tools and the hand tools. He loved it, and the best part was that he was in a terrific mood. It was really feeding him and making him feel really good.

The other part of the back yard will be for a garden. We have a small greenhouse to start our seedlings in, and he (GM) has created a list of veggies and herbs that he wants to try to grow. It is great to see him so interested in it. He will even get to participate in an organic farming class that our local CSA is putting together for homeschooled children. It will be fantastic for him to get to see the farming on that scale. He loves Tuesday's when we go to pick up our veggies from the farm, and is already looking forward to taking the class through the summer and early harvest season. To top it all off, we are getting chickens next month. All the kids are looking forward to it, but it will really be great for GM. Im just excited for the fresh eggs. GD chose some Dominiques, and GM chose some Araucana/Americanas. I think we will get a heritage breed as well for the laying reliability. Its all coming together. This is so exciting to be living this life and being able to help support the kind of childhood we want to provide. They will probably grow up and think their parents were nuts, but Im happy to be doing what I envisioned before I had kids. That makes me feel really good.

On another note, today we had our science club meeting and the kids got to hold some
really nice snakes. Of course they loved it, but the highlight of the day was when after the meeting we went for a hike in the 10 acres of bosque we just adopted with our Roots & Shoots group. I was downright thrilled to see a large porcupine sitting in one of the cottonwood trees. He was so cool, and cute. I could have just laid down under the tree and watched him all afternoon. He was moving around a tiny bit, a little sloth-like. Just awesome! It made my day. His spiney things (that is a technical term) were glowing in the sunlight, like a halo. He just made me so darn happy, I was worse than the kids. 34 years and I have never seen a wild porcupine sitting in a tree!!!!

On to our lessons. Last Wednesday we read Genevieve of Paris, Im glad I chose that story and GM really enjoyed it. It was great to see how interested he was in it. GD sort of daydreamed through it, but was interested enough to hang out with us. We baked a cake and took it to share at Great-Grandma's house. The family was supportive and told the boys how good it was. They made a chocolate oreo bundt cake. We dont keep sweets in the house, so it was great to get to bake it and take it over there to share. They are big dessert people, so it gets eaten!!! I decided to focus on one main subject per week, I know we are supposed to do this all along, but we are finally getting it into our rhythm. We were alternating days, but weeks does seem a lot better. GM is half way through his first chapter book. He chose it on his own and has been peacefully working his way through a chapter a day. He just goes and gets it and reads it. Those who know him will be as impressed by it as I am. Im so happy that he has found his confidence with reading again. Lets hope he can keep it.

On another note (last one I promise) my house is a mess again!! That is what happens when we spend the day working outside. Im gonna get back on it though. Tomorrow we have science at the science museum and then I am going to try to get the house picked up. Here's hoping I can get it done, life is a lot easier when its all picked up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mon/Tues Homeschool Log

Monday was a busy day for us. We got up and headed over to the Planetarium to participate in a show as the final part of a three week series our Science Club did. The boys liked it a lot and ME was sure to sing her "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" as the show began. We didnt get to stay and play around because we had to head over to the Nature Center to prepare for our Roots & Shoots meeting. We started by learning about keeping a Nature Journal and how to record things we find while we are hiking. We then started off on a short but fun hike to find some birds and make some entries into our journals. We collected leaves and did bark rubbings as well as spotting a few nice birds. We saw a crow, some Canadian Geese, a couple Roadrunners, several that we didnt know the names of, some ducks and an American Coot. The kids played around in the Nature Center's education building and then we were able to present our Recycling Bins to the Superintendent of the State Park. Pictures and all.

I was really tired in the afternoon and just read some books from my Enki stuff. We are going to start a monthly conference call and I want to read up on things so I can take advantage and ask questions on things I need clarification on. I am also reading Donna Simmon's new Unit study on Saints and Heroes, its a fantastic unit for my oldest son, and since I know nothing of Saints I thought it would be good to look for help. The study is not a religious study, but one about normal people who have risen under extraordinary circumstances. There are figures from multiple religious backgrounds or lore. Also there are some historical figures who I guess would fall into the Heroes category. Anyhow it is very well written, easy to follow and something Im looking forward to starting with the boys this week. Im just reading through to see who I want to start with.

Tuesday was another busy day for us. GM decided yest that he wanted to come back to the Nature Center today because most of the kids didnt want to hike the full trail.
So, we headed out for Science Class at the science museum where GD did Camouflage and GM did Electricity. We then visited with some people and let the kids play a bit before the four of us went on a two hour hike through the Bosque. It was WONDERFUL!!! These are the times I get all sappy about how much I love homeschooling. I love just strolling at our own pace and allowing the kids to freely explore without feeling rushed or pulled in different directions. ME was such a trooper and found a lot of great things to show me. We played on some logs that the beavers have brought down and found bark beetle trails, birds, the river, a lot of leaves for GM's leaf book he decided to start, as well as lots of various seed pods. It was a beautiful day at about 58 degrees and some slight wind. We had a really good time. Finally getting home at about 2:30 we settled into some quiet time. I am typing this up now while my husband and his buddy are outside with the backhoe loading up one of those big dumpsters you can rent to get rid of debris. It is sooooo loud!!

I think I will go and start the kid's dinner and continue reading my books and thinking about who I want to start with tomorrow from Donna's book.

Roots & Shoots

I started a local Roots & Shoots group called Rio Grande Roots & Shoots. We are a small group of homeschooling families that get together twice a month to learn about our environment, animals and community, and to do child appropriate service projects based on what we learn. So far since we started in September we have held a Peace Picnic for International Peace Day, and built our Peace Dove to fly at events. We were invited to go to Santa Fe with our dove and fly it during a presentation Dr. Goodall was giving about her experiences and about why she founded Roots & Shoots, after which we were able to meet her and have the kids pictures taken with her and our dove. We had an educational presentation from HawkWatch and learned about their program. We created a poster campaign where the kids each made a poster about HawkWatch and we hung them around town to promote their efforts. This project made it into the international Roots & Shoots newsletter put out by the Jane Goodall Institute. We then focussed on learning about how to be a Household environmentalist. This was a large project involving learning about all the ways we can make a difference just in how we live our lives and the choices we make. We made eco-friendly household cleaners and painted new recycling bins for the Rio Grande Nature Center as a service project. We then were able to meet with members of the Wildlife Refuge and the Rio Grande Zoo to learn about the Mexican Gray Wolf (my son is named after these guys) and how they became so endangered and what is being done to help them now. We also got to observe the wolves at the zoo and learn about how the wolf restoration program works from the zoo. We have turned our focus to winter birding this month and had a large bird project day where we made a lot of feeders from recycled objects, bagel feeders, garland feeders and built some small feeders from little wooden kits. Thanks to Wild Birds Unlimited we were able to learn about the birds we can expect to see in our neighborhoods and what kindsof seed they like. We also gave each child the forms to observe their feeders for 10-20 minutes and record their visitors, when they do this they will get a Junior Naturalist certificate from Wild Birds Unlimited. We then went on a winter bird hike to find
birds and learn about how to keep a Nature Journal. Its been a great year and some wonderful familieshave been participating. In the coming months we are going to do our Bosque Clean-Up project to collect trash from the Rio Grande Forest and learn about human impact on the area, we will learn about our local CSA Organic Farm and about how living and buying organic can impact not only our helath but our environment and community. We will be having a celebration party for our years efforts, and taking some summer hikes. I love being a part of it and I really enjoy having the kids feel empowered by what they can do. Now everytime we go to the Nature Center they will see their recycling bins and feel a sense of pride and ownership for the center. That is exactly how I want them to feel. A personal connection.

Backhoes Rock!!

Well, we have (I use the word we very loosely) been digging and breaking up concrete and hauling off rocks in our yard for a couple of weekends now, and we finally broke down and asked for help from a friend (a very NICE friend) with a backhoe. WOW, WOW, WOW!!! He brought that thing into our yard and it just went to town. He was able to pull up the sidewalk in literally minutes. I was sooo excited!! It has been that the demo and excavation was going to take longer than the rebuild. Now we can get busy on building the kids playground, preparing our garden beds and building our chicken coop. I am having a hard time staying focussed on our regular days because Im so antsy to get out there and start working on it. Trust me, its a BIG change from a sledgehammer, shovel and a wheelbarrow to a big backhoe!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Week at a Glance......

WOW, we had a busy week! I usually really don't like to have busy weeks and I try to not schedule things to happen too close together. This one snuck up on me, I didnt realize this week was so crazy until it was here. While I WONT be trying to do it again, we did survive it. We are a family who likes to be home more than we like to be out running around. Having to run around more than two or three times in a week is a lot, and throws our rhythm off. We dug in and got all our plans done and it even went smoothly. I will admit to basically turning into zombie Mommy on Friday afternoon, but it was well earned and the kids all snuggled up with me in bed too. They were just as tired as I was.

So here is a glimpse:

Saturday: Yard work, preparing the space to build the kids a playground. OLYMPICS!!

Sunday: Yard Work, Errands, and had Brother and Sister-in-law over for dinner. OLYMPICS!! I did at least get to see Shaun White soar through the air for gold! Go Tomato Go!!! We also baked cookies and decorate 25 bags for Valentine gifts to share at a party.

Monday: Housework, Science Club about Solar System, and a Valentine PotLuck party. Home for hanging out and some impromptu lessons on cursive and math games. OLYMPICS!!!

Tuesday: Housework, Science Class at museum about Static Electricity for GM and Balance for GD. Then home for a build-your-own pizza party with friends. OLYMPICS, and of course Valentines Day.

Wednesday: Baking Day, we made key lime bars to take to Great-Grandma's house, did our lessons, Great-Grandma's for dinner and I went to a curriculum share with a group I am considering joining. OLYMPICS!!!!

Thursday: We had lessons in the morning, and then ran some errands to get stuff for the Bird party on Friday. In the evening we had friends over for dinner. OLYMPICS!!!

Friday: In the morning we had our Roots & Shoots meeting here. We made various bird feeders from recycled objects and some using things like bagels and garlands. We also made some small wooden bird feeders from kits. It was really a lot of fun. We had 16 kids here and 6 Moms!! GM went to a LEGO Mindstorm class at the Science Museum with his Dad. They love doing that, and GM is getting really good at it. Oh yeah... OLYMPICS!!! And some simple lounging around.

Now today I have some running to do to get ready for the big family birthday party tomorrow. We celebrate once a month for all the relatives who have a birthday that month. This time we have 5 people ranging in age from 2-42. My Brother-in-law is coming to help my husband with getting the concrete out for the playground and I need to clean the house up. Of course this is all while trying to watch as much Olympics as I can.

Tomorrow we have tickets to the theatre to see a cool show with acrobats. The boys will love it and ME will get to play with her Grandma. Monday will be busy too, but then after that we are back to normal! Ahhhhhh

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

For Sale: A Home on a Hill....

Okay, so I made my declaration and admitted that my housework skills are a bit lacking. I do suffer from the "if its not going to be done at a certain level, than I am frozen by it and cant do it at all" thing. BUT, here is the other side of the mountain on the whole thing. It is impossible to be smoothly successful in whatever I attempt unless my house is in order. There I said it, I am now realizing how exhausting trying to "do" anything is when our foundation, our home, is not in order. Let me restate that, I am not just now realizing it, I have known it forever, however I never tasted it before; I never sat down and ate a big old plate full of it and knew it, owned it for myself. I thought I knew it, I could visualize it and I could relate to it, Ive even smelt it, but now, now I have tasted it. Whenever we did things in the past it was certainly fine and doable, but MUCH harder than it is now. Not having to search for the sock, not having to yell about "why dont you put your shoes in the basket", not having to hope my keys are where I put them last. My mind is much more clear and less distracted by the sense that I have sooo much to do, that almost paralyzing feeling. Basically I live on a big old hill. Im always having to do things while trying to march up a hill. That is so much harder, doable; yes, but harder. Im not sure why I live on the hill, Im not sure why I return to it time and time again and have some sort of "comfort level" here, but I do. But Im slowly (quite slowly, over about 15 years) learning about how nice things can be in the valley. Ive seen the views, and driven the roads, its a pretty nice place.
I feel like Ive given the impression that we live in filth, and we dont, but we do live in chaos often times. My Mother, whom I am sure is reading this, is a VERY neat person. I remember growing up and people thought I lived in a museum, everything was in a specific place and beautiful. I really liked, and appreciated that, because we didnt always live in a beautiful place, but our home, our foundation, was always a beautiful and fully cared-for space. She has that ability, that gift. She just does it. I wish I was more like her in that way. She is a putter, and will putt about picking up things, pinching off the less-than-perfect bloom on her plants, wiping down counters, thinking of how she can make it even more lovely. Somehow I missed that gene. I got the "leave that little light on for ambiance" gene, I got the "we can fashion a decoration out of a cup a diaper pin and a frog" gene, but damn-it I didnt get the putter gene!!! If Im putting it is conscious, it is something I am "doing" not just something that happens as I walk from the kitchen table to the bathroom. BUT, Im learning. I am tasting the flavor of knowing that I will get to crawl into a bed that was made that morning and that has the blankets all organized with the sheets all cool and fresh. That is such a good feeling. It makes me do that "Aaahh" sound in my head. It feels special and good to rest in a place that is "cared-for", just for us. Noone else sees it, noone else uses it, its just about us, about that "Aaaah".

NOTE: I dont equate on any level the happiness of a person with how clean their home is!! In fact, I think it can often go too far and become THE focus. The foundation cant be the focus, you have to allow it to ebb and flow, you can't not allow people to stand on it while striving for more for fear that they will mess it up, if that makes sense. Im just making an observation and spending a lot of time thinking about how this has affected me over the years. How it has limited me and my family. How we are much more free, peaceful and happy with things a bit more in order. How being the "keeper of the home" is very important, and not just for appearances, but for us.

Anyway, Im babbling and doing a little blog-therapy on my housework growth. But I figure this can't just be about the Christmas Card letter, that is dull and not real. I mean they work for a once a year snapshot, but you cant report that version everyday. The good part of a blog is sharing about life, the real parts. What Im up too, how we are doing and what is happening with us. Lately its been more about me, but hey, Im the one doing the typing right? Anyway, Im off to make my bed and Putt-about as unconsciously as I can...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Learning how to live at 34

Well that title sounds much more profound than the reality. But, its actually quite true. Im constantly struggling with trying to keep up, trying to be a person who could handle someone doing a "drop-by" visit, someone who could be spontaneous or not panic when the door bell rings. I want to be able to offer someone a ride without feeling humiliated that my car was a pit, or could offer a spontaneous playdate at our home. I have basically just figured "screw-it" that is not who I am and it is ridiculous to make myself crazy trying to make it so. That worked for about 33.5 years.
For a while I used to ask a very anal friend of mine to please give me the scoop, help me with the system. HOW is your house clean all the time?? How do you keep up all the time, how are you never caught with your dirty hair in a ponytail and looking very, well icky? She laughed at it and said it was just a part of being anal. She said it made her crazy to go to bed at night with a dirty dish in the sink, or a load of laundry waiting in the machine. Hmmm, never a problem for me!! I am so exhausted by trying to figure it out. How do you "learn" how to create systems that work for you in your own world, oh yeah, while mothering and homeschooling three young children? Ive been dedicating a lot of time meditating on it, reading about rhythms and the importance of living in a healthy vibrant home. I feel like rather than feeling this is something that I "have" to do because of the people in the world and what they may think of my messy house, I am now beginning to see it as another essential part of raising my family. Yeah, yeah I heard that "duh" comment, but I mean on a different level, I mean having them feel a sense of my dedication to them, having them see and be a part of a healthy functioning home. Not anal, not even always clean, but healthy, and flowing with the rhythm of a happy and vibrant family. Hey, Im pretty bright in most areas of my life, cut me some slack here, at least Im getting there now.
The iPod has been about 70% of it, it helped me dig in when I wasnt wanting too, but here is the best part.... Im keeping it up because I like the feeling of it, I like feeling that freedom, and control in my life. I couldnt care less about the other people when it comes to this, its about me and my family and how it makes us feel. I am always being chased by this mess-monster or maybe it is a lack of control in my life. I am learning, step by step, not patching, or getting caught up just long enough to get through something, only to let it all slip away again, but learning how to live my life in control of something that Im tired of avoiding or feeling conquered or paralyzed by. Im really hoping this is a new beginning for me, and that Im actually finding my system.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Olympic Fever!

I fully admit it! I am an Olympic Junkie! I basically binge on it for the entire run and drop out of society. I love the passion, the drama, the nationalism, the excitement and heartache. I am so inspired by the athletes and their drive. I love that they are regular people who work at your local grocery store, or Home Depot. I cry a lot and I scream WAY too much. The opening ceremonies get me everytime, all those athletes filled with hope and inspiration! Im an addict, I love the Winter Olympics most of all. This is probably because of the skating and the passion my Mother's family had for it throughout my life. I love the skiing, the speed skating, the luge. I just cant wait!!! Last night we watched a show called Building the Olympics, about how they built the ski jump in Torino, the deadline and the cooperative work of so many people. It was so cool. I will be looking for more of those shows on my DVR. Super Cool!!!

One day I will get to go. Maybe when the kids are a lot older and we become strangely wealthy, but one day I will get to be there with my big winter hat and scarf and crazy noise maker, hooting and hollering with people from all over the world who dont speak my language and dont care. We will all feel that same excitement and passion together, before getting back on the plane and flying back to our regular lives!!!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Keeping our rhythm...

We are luckily feeling better today and ready to get back to regular life. We have good day with morning lessons, lunch with Daddy and a quiet afternoon before showering and heading to Great-Grandma's for dinner. I may have to record the Grammy's in case Im running late getting home.

Last night I went through the "skill checklist" from Marsha's site (waldorfhomeeducators@yahoo.com) for GM, and realized he has mastered all the skills that would be considered 2nd grade. We dont work on grade levels because we move through topics until mastery. After a while all the grade levels get mixed up and we find ourselves all over the map, so we work more on GM or GD level. Wherever they are, is where we begin. Anyhow, I also use the Enki guidelines for topics, only because the research has already been done and I agree with Beth's perspective. So GM will begin more work on various social studies over the next few months. He will start by helping to plan our garden for this year and we will work the soil together, learning about what the various plants need, and working from there. He is also going to help Dad build their playground and learn about using tools and following a plan. He is already really good at that part, but still it is on a different scale and he will enjoy it.

Today's Lessons:

Lap Harp Practice: Hot cross Buns and Mary Had A Little Lamb
Xylophone Fun: We are still playing with the xylophone, the boys both got to makeup a song (improv) and share it with us. They had a lot of fun with it and came up with some creative sounds and rhythms.

Journals: Each of the boys wrote in their journals. Here is a picture of GD's entry. I just let them write about whatever they want (as it is their journal). GD usually writes about something from his imagination, and GM is very literal, writing about something that happened to him. Today he had his own topic, and didnt need me to narrow it down with him. :-)

Story: We re-read The Fairy and The Hare from the Jakata Tales. Each of the boys added an entry into their Good Books about the story.

Math: We are using Saxon Math for the boys, however we do not use the teacher's guides. I will sometimes refer to them if I am looking for another way to explain something. GD is still focussed on physically doing math in a game or activity. We use the Christopherus guide book with him, but GM is not interested in that at all, and the Saxon really satisfies him. He looks forward to it, and his Math Paths.

Language Arts: Each of the boys read a short story and did the comprehension discussion afterwards. Then they each read a book of their choice to wrap up the morning.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Sick again!!

Ugh!! We are sick again! It seems we have just been hit by everything going around this winter. I guess that isnt true, but it sure feels like it. Yesterday we were supposed to go to science club and then have our roots & shoots meeting. I had everything all planned out for the meeting, supplies gathered, cookies baked, lunch packed and the car loaded, and then, the boys woke up. One with a fever and the other with a cough. It figures when Im all set to go without the frantic mayhem, we arent going anywhere! Actually, we went to science club because I couldnt get in touch with everyone to cancel Roots & Shoots, also I was set to help with the little kids area. Luckily once we got there we realized that a lot of people were sick. I let GM hang out and do the unit on the solar system because it is one of his favorite topics. He had a good time, and made a really cool solar system model.

Today we are home, and I have tried to reschedule R&S for Friday. We missed our science museum class, which is a bummer, but we need to focus on getting better today. I must admit I love sick days. Not the throwing-up fever hell sort of sick days, but the snuggle up together in bed and watch movies all day kind of sick days. We eat strawberries and drink orange juice and just hang out together. Its like a little snuggle vacation.

I have gotten to use some of our home time to play with my itunes and look for new music. Its so fun to find something you really like, and never knew about! I made the mistake of asking my step-father to do grammy predictions, Holy cow there are a LOT of categories! I need to go through them and pick my winners. I wonder if I will get the Polka category right??

Sunday, February 05, 2006

More from my iPod...

KT tunstall Melissa Etheridge meets Folk

Jolie Holland If I could sing, I would want her voice!

More ALO I got some terrific live clips from the music archives site. I love bands that sign off for free downloads of GREAT performances!!

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Nina Nastasia I love it when women with sweet voices sing bold lyrics.

Wynton Marsalis Gets me moving!

Friday, February 03, 2006

My iPod

Okay, I realize Im about three years behind the ball on this one, but WOW!!!!!!!! I have to actually do an entire entry just on my iPod because I love it THAT much! I didnt even want one, I thought it was silly for me to have something that would make me unable to hear with three kids running around the house. Boy was I wrong! First off, I dont have it really loud unless the youngest is napping and the boys are occupied in a safe way (legos, watching a movie...). It has CHANGED MY LIFE! I know, Im a spaz, but I am serious. Imagine having a soundtrack to your life. That is what it is. I have playlists for morning coffee, for gardening (working on this one) for cleaning the house (the best one) and just different genres or styles I like. The best part is that I love a LOT of different styles of music. I cant even think of one that there isnt an artist I really enjoy who would be categorized in that style. So, I can have them all together, all playing my favorite songs, when and wherever I want!!

I actually have a clean house, and it is truly thanks to my ipod. I whip through the house without even thinking about it. I love it! I have songs that get me moving ans songs that make me want to sing (scary) and songs that make me think. Of course having an itunes account is helpful. I use them a lot, although I also like MusicMatch and Real Player. When looking for different things, they each have tiehr place. I think MusicMatch does a great job of helping you find related artists, they make it easy with the toolbar right on the front page. I have found MANY new favorites through them.

What can I say, Im obsessed! If you dont have one, GET ONE!! BORROW one from someoen just to see what it feels like. I think I would have a melt down if something happened to mine. In fact I love it so much that my husband got one for himself after witnessing how much it has helped me. He uses it when he is working on the car, or doing household projects. It keeps you moving, happy and motivated. Its like a drug!! I will be getting the little adapter so I can listen in my car, which will then completely surround me with music I love. Im so psyched!!

Okay, on to music choices, below are artists with links to their public sites, also be sure to check myspace.com for free downloads from a majority of these artists myspace sites. The address would be www.myspace.com/ @##@## add in the artist name at the end there. for example www.myspace.com/tristanprettyman

Currently playing in my ipod, and within my playlists we have...

A.J. Croce: Yes the son of Jim Croce, fantastic music with a distinctive style. I prefer his older stuff.
Aaron Bowen: San Diego Singer/Songwriter
Aimee Mann
Ali Farka Toure with Ry Cooder
Alicia Keys
Amanda Marshall
Andrew Foshee: Check out "Photo"
Ani DeFranco
Animal Liberation Orchestra
Anna Nalick
Anya Marina
Bacon Brothers
The Barenaked Ladies
The Beautiful Girls
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
Ben Harper
Beth Preston: Terrific
Beyonce: to get the booty moving
Billy Joel
Black Eyed Peas: Again to get the booty movin
Brandi Carlile: Holy Crap!!! Check out her live Hallelujah
Bushwalla: San Diego artist, I ordered his disk from him via email, very nice guy
Carla Bruni
Carole King: Because my mother raised me right.
The Chieftains
Chris Bryan
Damien Rice: It doesnt get much better
Danya River
Dave Matthews Band
Death Cab For Cutie
Del Castillo: Because my step-father has good taste, think texas gypsy kings
Diana Krall
Donovan Frankenreiter
Edie Brickell: love her
Eels: too fun
Elvis Costello
Emily Brown: unsigned 16 year old phenom out of san diego
Eric Clapton
Erykah Badu
Fiona Apple: I love Extraordinary Machine
Five for Fighting
Foo Fighters
Gorillaz: so creative!
Green Day
Gregory Page: Awesome and original for today
Harry Connick Jr.: I mean is there any need for explanation??
Indigo Girls: No better harmonies out there!
Jack Johnson: Lets just say he is the person I would want to srite the soundtrack to my life!
James Blunt
Jamie Cullum
Jane: From San Diego
JAson Mraz
Joan Osbourne
John Butler Trio: Zebra is simply one of the best songs ever! So fun to dance too!!
John Legend
John Mayer
Johnny Cash: An old favorite
Joni Mitchell: because she is essential to me
Joss Stone
k.d. Lang: Wow to sing like that must be amazing
kanye west
kate earl
keren ann
K.T tunstall
Laura Nyro: From my step-fathers collection (cant decide if her voice is really good, or really bad). :-)
Lisa Hannigan
Lucinda Williams: Thanks Limpy for the reminder!
Lyle Lovett: Much Respect!!
Madeleine Peyroux: timeless
Mandy Patinkin: Loving him for years, thanks again to my step-father
Marc Broussard
Marty Casey: Okay I loved that show!
Mary Dolan: Corona is perfect for us mothers
Matt Wertz
Michelle Shocked: I have everything of hers, just wonderful
Missy elliot: WOW, she oozes talent
Missy Higgins: She can belt out a tune!
Natalie Merchant
Nellie McKay: so many great songs, and a pure voice
Nickel Creek: recent fav!!
No Doubt: pretty much sums up my generation, they were GREAT before they were big, bring back the ska!!
Norah Jones
Soundracks from Northern Exposure
Ottmar Liebert
Patty Griffin
Paul Simon: To go into his brain would be quite an experience
Pink: amazing voice on Missundaztood
Postal Service: I love the version of Such Great Heights, live with Jane
Ray Charles
Rebekah del Rio: again, my step-father! Boy she is terrific, really good for driving through the desert
Rickie Lee Jones: Makes me think of Little Darlings everytime!
Shawn Mullins
Shelby Lynne: I like Telephone
sheryl crow: not a huge fan, but enjoy a song or two
tim Bluhm
Tim Moyer
Tim Mudd
Todd Hannigan
Todd Snider
Tom Waits
Tracy Chapman
Trevor Davis
Tristan Prettyman; Edie Brickell for 2005
Van Morrison: Again, Mama raised me right
White Stripes: So many great songs to get you moving, and great lyrical style

Weekly Wrap-Up and Enki...

Well another week has flown on by, its wild how fast the days are going lately!!

This week we had our Science Class at a local science museum. GM and GD really love it. The classes are really good (even taught by previous homeschooling parents) and it seems (so far) that all the kids there are really wanting to be there. GD loves being in his own little group with kids his age (roughly) and doing all the fun science experiments, and GM is just excited to be in a "real lab" doing "real science". We were able to stay after a bit and let the kids play at the museum for a while before heading over to a friend's house for the rest of the afternoon. All three kids had a blast and came home for a quiet night. I think we were all tired from our busy couple of days.

Back to regular lessons Wednesday, Thursday and Friday though. The kids did great falling back into our rhythm and flew through their work. GM did a lot of math today (he was in the mood) and GD was THRILLED to read his new Penguin book he got last week. We read a great Jakata Tale called The Fairy and the Hare, which they both really enjoyed and switched from lap harps to xylophone just to keep our interest up. I think we will do two weeks of each and switch. It helps them feel energized when we pick it up again. We are back to starting with our yoga, and the boys, although a little silly today, were happy with it.

GREAT NEWS: Beth Sutton and her family are able to get back on track and continue releasing materials for the Enki Program. Im so happy to hear things are back up and running and Im really looking forward to seeing some of the new materials. GD is now flowing into 1st grade work and Beth will be releasing the rest of the first grade materials just in time. I do not have her First Grade Fairy Tales Book only because we have a large library of fairy tales already, and I have some strange aversion to stories all coming from one source. I like the different writing styles and flavor of hearing stories from different authors. Im not a storyteller, and dont memorize my stories to be told from me directly. I knew right away that would be a flop!!! So anyway, Im happy about the news and will be following the progress closely. They will also start the telephone discussion group once a month, to talk about how things are and ask questions we may be having. Im looking forward to it.