Saturday, May 29, 2010

Zoom Through the Zoo

Thursday, we left our house at 7:30 AM for a day trip to Memphis. We began by visiting my youngest brother, Rhett the dentist, for our dental check-ups. We stayed at his office until lunchtime! Then we ate lunch and shopped for a little while. We ended up at Starbucks where we hung out for at least an hour, drinking various coffee drinks, reading, and visiting. We also changed into our running clothes there. Our next stop was the Zoom Through the Zoo 4 Mile Race. Rhett and one of his friends was running the race too, so I decided to run with them. I have discovered that I really like running with someone during races. Since all of the other runners in my immediate family are way too fast for me, it is always nice to find someone to run with! My sister-in-law, Amanda, watched Leah and Sam as well as her two little ones while the rest of us ran. Thanks Amanda!

The race began at 6:30 PM just outside of the zoo. It ran through the zoo (we saw the elephants) for a mile or two, and then the course travelled around the outside of the zoo for the second half of the race. The finish line was inside the zoo entrance. As soon as you enter the zoo, there is a fairly large wading pool. This is where Leah and Sam spent most of their time both before and after the race.

Here are Leah and Sam before they began wading.

Still pretty should have seen them by 8:30!

Our family enjoying the post race refreshments--BBQ. Yes, BBQ. After running 4 miles in the 90 degree heat and humidity. I couldn't eat until about an hour after I finished running!

The Zoom Through the Zoo race had over 1000 participants! Rhett, his friend, and I lined up about midway in the starting crowd. That was a big mistake! When they sounded the starting siren, it was 18 seconds before we even got to the starting line! We still couldn't begin running by then, because the racers were so crowded together, and quite a few walkers participated. We spent the first 1.5 miles dodging walkers and slower runners. We even ran on sidewalks and grass, trying to get around all of those people. It reminded me of the Peachtree 10K that our family ran last year in Atlanta. People everywhere! By mile 2, the runners had spread out more, and the rest of the race was great. I think that since we had to run the first mile so slowly, that it helped our overall time. We didn't make the mistake of starting out too fast.

As with all races, sometimes my children are thrilled by their race times, sometimes they are disappointed, and sometimes they are just somewhere in between. Olivia was happy with her race time, Julie was discouraged, and Clay was just ok. As their mother, I am proud of them whether they are first place or last place! I am so happy that they are healthy and can run. I just hug them and tell them how great they are at the end of every matter their race time or their perception of how they did. They are all winners to me! Anyway, even with the heat, the humidity, the 1000 runners, and their feelings after the race, they all won a medal! Olivia won 1st, Julie won 1st, and Clay won 3rd!

Julie, Olivia, and Clay with their medals

By the time we left, Leah and Sam were wet from head to toe!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

They're Growing Up!

Jimmy took Clay and Sam shopping last week. He thought that Clay was old enough for his first sport coat, and while they were at the store, he found one for Sam too!

Don't they look handsome? Their first coats, button down shirts, and ties! When they got home from the mall, both of them were so proud of their purchases, and they immediately tried own the new clothes and modeled for their sisters and me.

One of the best parts is that Jimmy got such a bargain! Clay's sport coat alone was originally priced at $85, and Jimmy bought 2 coats, 3 button down shirts, and 2 ties for around $35 total!

Now both boys are ready to attend two weddings this summer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer Break!

Woo Hoo!

Today was our last day of school for the 2009-2010 school year! I am so proud of all of my children and all that they accomplished this year.

Our summer is off to a great start! I am working on my summer list and our summer schedule. I am asking the children to list all of the closets and drawers that they need to clean out, and I will be giving them 30 minutes three or four times a week to work on cleaning these out. I call this the Productive List. I also asked them to make a list of all of the fun things that they would like to work on this summer. Things like gifts they have received that they have not had time to play with, craft kits they haven't opened, unfinished projects, etc. I plan to give them time every day to work on their Fun Project list.

I am working on our daily routine, but I am thinking that it will look something like this:

7:30 run (All of us are going to the park. Leah and Sam are riding their bicycles while we run.)

8:30 breakfast, Bible study, Bible memory

Next morning chores (This includes our regular chores of starting laundry, unloading the dishwasher, making beds, etc, plus one daily general housekeeping chore---things like dusting, mopping, vacuuming, and some outside chores for Clay---vacuuming the van, blowing off the porches, etc.)

Next Read aloud time. I plan to spend 30 minutes to 1 hour reading aloud to all 5 children.

Next Fun list (for the kids), Productive list (for me). I have a fun list too (scrapbooking, learning to crochet, blogging, reading for pleasure)


Next This is where I am working on the plan. The kids are ready to swim by this time. I think that I will let them go ahead and get in the pool as soon as I am through with my Productive List time (30 minutes). They can eat lunch outside, and continue to swim until I am ready for everyone to rest.

Rest Time While I am getting Sam down for a nap, the other children go to their rooms for 30 minutes of Bible reading (Olivia and Julie), 15 minutes of Bible reading for Clay, and just free reading for Leah. After they read, they are then continuing to rest in their rooms doing whatever they want. After about an hour, they can come downstairs if they want. I am using this time to read my Bible too.

Next Everyone works on their Productive List, followed by free time. I will spend this time working on my productive list too, as well as finishing up the laundry.

Next Afternoon chores, supper, kitchen clean-up, free time with Daddy.

This summer schedule may appear rather rigid at first glance, but keep in mind that this is my guide. I have to have a plan or the summer will whiz by, and I would have accomplished nothing! This schedule gives me a framework for each day. There are days when we will be gone all day, we have VBS, the children have two running camps, we are all going to Rustic Youth Camp, Jimmy has vacation time, and many other things too! So, on the days when we are home, we will use our summer schedule to make sure that we do not waste the days away!

I want to encourage you to at least make some sort of summer list. Think of all you want to accomplish over the next several weeks. I hope you meet your goals too!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Woodall Dash 5K

Very early this morning we travelled north to Woodall Mountain for the Woodall Dash 5K. Rising 806 feet, Woodall Mountain is the highest point in Mississippi! The weather was hot, sticky, and muggy....not the best weather for a run! Sadly, Jimmy is on call this weekend and for the second time ever, our family ran a race without him. We really missed him!

The children ran well, and were awarded the following medals: Olivia--2nd place female (15-19), Julie--1st place female (14 and under), Clay--3rd place male (14 and under). Not very many 40-44 year old females ran this race today, so I won 1st place! My time was 2 minutes slower than what I normally do a 5K in. I experimented with not looking at my GPS watch to check my pace throughout the race. I have never not monitored myself during a 5K. I could tell I was not pushing myself, so I really wasn't surprised with my time. This was a hilly course, and for the first time in a long, long while, my knee hurt after the race. All of our times are listed in the sidebar under race results. Our next 5K is June 5. If my friend Dorothy runs with me, I hope to have a faster time. She really helps me during a race. I missed running with her today!

Spartans at the race today:
Clay, Josh, Leslie, Olivia, and Julie

Josh's mother, Kathy, watched Sam for me while I ran. Her husband David ran too, and he won a medal also. I always appreciate my friends that watch my younger children at these races. Leah was at her cousin's house this morning, so Kathy only had Sam.

Something funny---When the girls were through running, and we were waiting for the results and awards, they went to the van and brought back their crocheting (large bags of yarn, stuffing, and books plus their current project). As they were walking to the gathering area, crocheting all the time, I overheard a lady say to her friend, "I always see young girls walking and texting, but I have never seen girls walking and crocheting!

After the race, we enjoyed a late breakfast/early lunch at Subway.

Olivia, Julie, Leslie, and Clay at Subway

Sam at Subway

When we were through eating, we travelled next to Corinth for cousin Grace's 7th birthday party. Leah was already there (she had spent the night), so we all joined her for the 4 hour party! Yes Aunt Jenny had a 4 hour party for eight 6 and 7 year old girls plus my children.
As soon as we arrived, Sam spotted a battery powered vehicle. I am not sure what its official title is, but Sam thought it was a riding lawn mower. He rode around and around Aunt Jenny's backyard, dodging squealing little girls for three and a half hours! He rode that toy until the battery completely died. Then he came inside and told Uncle Jeff that he was all finished cutting the yard! He really thought he was cutting the grass! He told me that there was one spot that he just couldn't get, but he did pick up many sticks. He put all of the sticks in the little scoop in the front. When Uncle Jeff complimented Sam on a job well done, Sam responded, "I couldn't get all of the sticks, but I got a yot (lot) of them!" He was so proud of cutting that grass!

Sam on the "riding mower"

By the end of the party, Julie, Clay, and Leslie jumped into the pool too. Everyone had a super time at Grace's party. We had pizza, a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake, and lots of fun!

Leah, Grace (the birthday girl), Julie, and Leslie



We are home now, and we all are thoroughly exhausted! We are also all dirty and sweaty, and Sam and Leah are both showing the effects of getting up extremely early and playing hard outside all day.

It's been a good day, but it would have been a great day if Jimmy could have been here with us!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Homeschool Conference

Last weekend Jimmy and I attended our state homeschool conference in Starkville. My parents kept our children, so Jimmy and I enjoyed a night alone in a hotel! Jimmy had to work on Friday, so he joined me after he got off. I spent that first day visiting with friends and listening to great speakers. Voddie Baucham was the keynote speaker, and he was fabulous! I also attended sessions held by my real life friend, Mary Jo (Building Your Home Library), as well as ones about homeschooling high school and using Sonlight.

Starkville is home to Mississippi State University where Jimmy and I both graduated. We met at State, we were engaged right there on the State campus, and we married one month after I graduated from State. Being in Starkville together always brings back fond memories for us. After Jimmy arrived Friday night, we joined several of our friends from Corinth for supper at Oby's. Delicious! Oby's is a restaurant that we frequented while we were dating 20 years ago. The food there is just as good today as it was then! Jimmy and I ordered the same thing we always did while we were dating: roast beef sandwiches with gravy. Yummy! We really enjoyed our dinner company....we laughed and talked and I think I drank a gallon of sweet tea!

After our long supper, Jimmy and I took a walk around State's campus. The weather was nice, and it was such a pleasant walk! I had a hard time sleeping that night....I think it was all that tea I drank until 10:00 PM!

Jimmy and I attended some sessions together and some separately on Saturday. We were inspired by Mr. Voddie Baucham! Between sessions we hung out in the curriculum fair where we visited and visited and visited some more. We saw so many people we knew! Friends from high school. Friends from college. Friends from medical school (including our next door neighbors from married student housing when Jimmy was in medical school!). Friends from previous homeschool conferences. We really enjoyed ourselves immensely!

At the end of the day we left refreshed and ready for our 10th year of homeschooling!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

10th Grade Curriculum

Olivia will be in the 10th grade next year. I cannot believe that she is almost finished with our homeschool. I do not like to even think about her moving away from home!

Notgrass World History--This course allows the student to earn a credit in Bible, World History, and English. I will use my Sonlight catalog and also a resource called All Through the Ages to supplement her reading. I cannot keep enough books for this child to read!

Science--Apologia Chemistry with lab

Math--Teaching Textbooks Geometry

Rosetta Stone Spanish--Olivia has been working with this program for a few years. She will start the program again from the beginning, this time using the included workbooks and tests. This Spanish program takes 2 school years to complete, and Olivia will earn 2 credits in foreign language by completing this course.
Fine Arts--piano
For this year, Olivia will earn a total of 7.5 credits toward high school graduation.

Monday, May 17, 2010

8th Grade Curriculum

Julie will be in the 8th grade next year.

Sonlight Core 5--This is the same Core that Clay will be doing. I will read their read alouds to the whole family, and then they will independently read the included readers. Core 5 also assigns daily Bible reading which I will probably read aloud too.

Language Arts--Sonlight Core 5 Language Arts. As we get into this program, if I need to supplement Julie's writing assignments, I will. She is a natural writer, and she usually has a book or two that she is writing, so I will just have to wait and see.
Easy Grammar
Daily Grams
Wordly Wise Book 8

Math--Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra

Science--Apologia Physical Science

Bible--family Bible study, independent Bible reading, weekly Scripture memory.

Rosetta Stone Spanish

Sunday, May 16, 2010

6th Grade Curriculum

Clay will be in the 6th grade next year.

Sonlight Core 5--this covers history, geography, independent readers, and read alouds. Clay will have a timeline book, and he will work with Leah and Julie in marking a world map as we read about different areas of our world. Core 5 covers the Eastern Hemisphere.

Language Arts--Sonlight Core 5 Language Arts (for copywork, dictation, composition)
Sequential Spelling
Daily Grams
Easy Grammar
Wordly Wise Book 5

Math--Teaching Textbooks 6

Bible--daily family Bible study, independent Bible reading, learn one memory verse per week.

Science--Apologia Human Body

Rosetta Stone Spanish

Mavis Beacon Typing

Saturday, May 15, 2010

1st Grade Curriculum

Leah will be in first grade next year! This is what I will be using for her.

Sonlight Core K--this includes a Bible storybook, a timeline book, and many, many read alouds. Here is a link to a complete listing. These books cover history, geography, and literature.

Language Arts--Readers 1 and Language Arts 1 from Sonlight. This includes spelling, copywork, and a variety of other language arts skills.
Explode the Code books 1-3 for phonics
A Reason For Handwriting Book A

Math--Horizons 1

Bible--daily Bible lessons with the family, plus learn one memory verse per week.

Science--Apologia Astronomy

Friday, May 14, 2010

School Next Year: 4 Year Old Preschool

I have made almost all of my decisions about next year's school curriculum, and I have ordered and received all of it! I will be posting a complete list and description of what I plan to use for each of my five children.

Sam: 4 Year Old Preschool

Sonlight Preschool 3/4--This is a collection of around 100 picture books. There is no schedule to follow, just a checklist provided if you want to check off each book as you read it. The Instructor's Guide also list some fun activities to go along with each book. I have already begun reading the books to Sam (and Leah too) before naptime and bedtime. I plan to work my way through each book, reading and rereading them as many times as Sam wants.

Language Arts--I am using the Sonlight Language Arts guide included in their Preschool 4/5. It is a set of four readiness workbooks, plus a couple of additional books to read aloud.

Math--I have set a few goals for Sam for the school year:
1. Count to 100. We will count the days that we "do preschool", and tape a card on the wall with that day's number. On the 100th day we will have a big celebration.
2. Recite the months of the year.
3. Recite the days of the week.

Bible--Participate in our daily family Bible time, plus learn 10 Bible verses. I also have a Bible storybook (from Sonlight Preschool 3/4) that I read to him from each night before bed.

Other--a variety of educational games, activities, puzzles, painting, play-doh, etc.

I will blog about the other children's curriculum over the next few days.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gumtree 10K

Saturday morning our family ran the Gumtree 10K. It was an absolutely beautiful day for a race. Much, much better than last week! The temperature was around 60, and the sun was shining brightly. My parents spent the night after Kindergarten graduation, so they were able to keep up with Leah and Sam while the rest of us ran.
We arrived at the race site about an hour before the starting time. We all had an enjoyable time visiting with people. Our dear friend Kelly (my friend Lynn's husband) is running for office.....Court of Appeals....and he had technical shirts made for wearing during the race. We all donned these shirts, and I must say that they looked great!

Lynn and Kelly's youngest two, Jared and Avery, with Leah and Sam. They all had the best time playing in the dirt and mulch and climbing trees while we all ran!

Stacee, Lynn, and Me before the race

Last week's race was so miserable for me that I decided to run a little bit differently this week. I began the race with both Stacee and Lynn. I ran with Lynn the first two miles, and then I stayed with Stacee until mile 3. After that I sped up just a little and finished the race feeling great! I did something that I have not done in a race in a couple of years---I did not look at my Garmin watch. I did not care what my pace was, nor did I spend time doing the math in my head based on the pace I was running....what time would I finish in if I kept this pace, etc. I just ran based on how I felt. Between miles 4 and 5, my side began to hurt a little bit, so I slowed down. At mile 5, I felt better, so I think I must have sped back up....I am not sure, but I just know that it was really, really nice not to feel like I was going to throw up the whole last mile! I had no idea what my finish time was going to be, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was 56:23. That is 40 seconds or so slower than my fastest 10K, but it was such an enjoyable run!

My whole family had a more positive racing experience than the previous week. Jimmy, Olivia, and Clay all set personal 10K records! Our times are all in the left sidebar. Julie ran a fantastic time and she was the 10th female finisher-----out of almost 1000 runners! She won 1st in her age group, Olivia won 3rd, and Clay won 1st.
Lynn's boys with Clay, Stephen and Kelly

Olivia and Julie

Clay and Pops

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kindergarten Graduation

Friday night our local homeschool organization, CHENM, held their annual graduation ceremonies. During this event, the Kindergartners, 8th graders and Seniors all are recognized and celebrated. Leah graduated Kindergarten this year!

The Kindergarten Class
Leah is the 4th one from the left.

The Kindergarten portion of the program is always so sweet! The all walked in together, and then they recited Proverbs 9:10 and sang This Little Light of Mine. Next they were individually awarded their diplomas, and then they sat with their families for the rest of the program.

Singing the song

Leah with her friend, Avery

My parents were able to attend the ceremony.

And so was Aunt Megan!

The proud parents!

Congratulations Leah! We are so proud of you, and we are looking forward to the next 12 years of your schooling!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Running, Praying, and Writing

For the past several months I have run many, many miles indoors on our treadmill. I am extremely grateful for our treadmill in the climate controlled room equipped with fans and a TV with a DVR! Without the treadmill, I would have severely slacked off from running this winter. However, it is so, so nice to be running outside again! In addition to the race last Saturday, I have run outside 3 times this week, and it has proved to be so pleasant! There is something about running outside and breathing the fresh air that just clears my head. It is the very best stress reliever!

The first day I ran outside I listened to music. I enjoyed it, because I have not listened to my music in months. The next two days I left my music at home, and I used the time to just think. Think and pray. Although I can see all five of my children while I run at our city park, since I am running alone and they are either running too or playing on the playground nearby, I feel like I am really alone. No one is talking to me, and I can think! I like to spend a good portion of my running time (without music) to just pray. I begin by praying for Jimmy and then I move on to each child. Next I pray about whatever is causing me anxiety at the time.....remembering the Scripture, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
After this, I pray for each person that I see walking on the track. Everyone is going through a difficult time of some sort, or has an important decision to make, or is suffering physically. Everyone has a story, and I know everyone could use someone praying for them! So I pray for them.....the elder couple creeping around the track, the man walking with his walker, the young teenage girls texting while walking, the young man running, the young mother dealing impatiently with her tired child, the young lady smoking while walking, and the grandmother walking with her grandchildren.

Then my mind wanders to my blog. I compose many of my posts while running. I think about what our family has done recently that I need to record so I don't forget. I think about what would encourage my friends, both real-life friends and my new online friends. My thoughts flow so freely while I am running, and I wish I had my computer with me! I have enjoyed blogging so much. This month is my 2 year anniversary of blogging. I have really not had any specific mission for this blog. I just enjoy recording my family's happenings and sharing what's on my mind. I like to write. I do not consider myself a good writer, but I do enjoy getting my thoughts on paper.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bible Memory Box

I have had on my "to do" list to make a Bible memory box for quite some time now. Sunday afternoon, I finally did it! Here is the link to the directions I used. Click here. Scroll down to Supplies You'll Need for the very specific directions that I followed.

I used colored cardstock to make my dividers. I cut 39 dividers instead of 41 like the article suggested, because I normally do not drill our Bible verses on Saturdays or Sundays. The dividers are labeled: Daily, Odd, Even, 1 for each day of the week, and 1-31 for the dates of each month. Here is a not so good picture. I am not a photographer!

the dividers

Next I typed or copied and pasted from BibleGateway the verses that we have previously memorized plus several verses that the children memorized years ago and need to practice. I used Avery brand index cards......They come in a package with 4 index cards per sheet. You print 4 cards at a time, and they are perforated for you to separate them easily.

two of the Scripture cards

The final step was placing each of the verses I had printed out on the cards behind the appropriate divider. I really just randomly placed all the verses that we have learned over this past school year. I also typed up several for us to learn (or relearn) in the weeks to come. I will just type up more verses as we run out new verses to memorize.

I do not currently have a 4 x 6 filing box to store the cards and dividers in, so I put them in a little basket. This will do until I can make a trip to the store! Also, I may laminate my dividers.

the finished product in the basket
It will look nicer when I buy the filing box.

I am keeping the basket on our kitchen table, because that is where we have our daily Bible reading, study, discussion and drill/memory work. In addition to making cards for Scripture memory, I also made several cards for some general Bible drill work. These drills include: Twelve Apostles, Twelve Sons of Jacob, Books of the New Testament, Books of the Old Testament, The Ten Commandments, The Ten Plagues, and some longer passages like Psalm 23.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Corinth Coke 10K

Yesterday our family participated in the 29th annual Corinth Coke 10K. This was the 5th year that my older children have run this race, my 4th, and I am not sure how many years Jimmy has run this race! This 10K is one of my family's favorite races. It attracts a large crowd (this year there were 900 runners) of both professional and recreational runners. I think this year's winner finished the race in 31 minutes! The race course goes through downtown Corinth and through several neighborhoods with beautiful modern and historic homes. Most of the residents are either sitting on their front porches or in their front yards, cheering the runners on.

This year the weather was predicted to be really stormy around race time. Thankfully, we just endured light rain, overcast skies, and thick, thick humidity. It was hard to breathe! For some reason (maybe the humidity?) everyone in our family, except for Clay who set a 10K PR (personal record) ran a good bit slower than we did in this race last year. I felt like I was running through molasses. My running friend, Dorothy, was not there, and I confirmed to myself again, that I do not like running a race without a friend to chat with. Fortunately, around mile 2, one of our Spartans, Emilee, caught my attention to ask if she could run with me. She had set a goal of breaking one hour, so I was happy to run the rest of the race with her. My original goal was something under 55:43 (my best 10K time), but I knew by the time I found Emilee, that I would not meet that goal. Not on that day. So Emilee and I trudged through the rest of the 4 miles, together. And we met her goal! We finished at just over 58:00. She was so happy, and I was happy to be through!

Carson, John Parker, and Clay after the race. These boys had such a good time!

Normally, the race awards are given on the steps of the courthouse, but since it was such a rainy, and potentially stormy day, the awards were presented inside the coke warehouse. I was happy to be surrounded by hundreds (maybe thousands!) of cases of coke! Coke is my all-time favorite drink! The trophies in the Coke race are gold painted coke bottles. Everyone wants a gold coke bottle! Olivia, Julie, and Clay all earned one! Julie and Olivia are in separate age divisions now that Olivia is 15, and it is nice that the sisters are not competing against each other.

Olivia with her 3rd place coke trophy

Julie with her 1st place coke trophy
Julie was the 7th female finisher in the race!

Clay with his 5th place coke trophy

Our race times are posted in the sidebar. Next Saturday, we are all running the GumTree 10K. I hope we have nice, cool, dry weather!

During the race, Jimmy's sister, Jenny kept Leah and Sam at Granmomma's house. I was so happy that she was able to do that, and Leah and Sam did not have to hang out in the rain all morning. Later on in the day we got a ton of rain! Here is a picture of an underpass just walking distance from Jimmy's parents' house.