Friday, May 28, 2010

Vocabulary words

Ashlynn was the least vocal of all my girls. She started talking later and took longer to build up her vocabulary than any of the other ones. In fact she said about 5-6 words BEFORE she ever said Mama, and she didn't say that until she was nearly 15 months old. Compared to some of the other girls who were composing stories by that time, well...

But all that is behind her, and she talks about like all two year olds now. She bosses us all around just fine. There are two relatively recent additions to her vocabulary that I wanted to mention. The first is quite cute. The second, not so much.

Ashlynn is the youngest one to learn the following word: princess. Of course, when she says it, it comes out more like "pwincess." She loves to show us all the princesses in books or on a movie (which she calls moo-bies).

The last word I think will become a Smith family no-no word. Years ago, we decided not to let the older two girls use the word stupid at all. We figured that if they didn't ever use the word, they couldn't call each other things like "stupid head" that we had heard other kids call each other. And I have never heard my kids call other people stupid, so I guess in that it worked, though we've certainly slackened up on it in recent years. It did cause grandparents some problems when they would visit and use the word. ("That is a stupid thing for the president to have done." "Granddad, you said a no-no word.")

We may have to revise the no-no word list and add a new one to it. It's such a benign little word too. I think we need to add the word "fine" to the Smith banned list. You see this is how recent conversations have gone in our house.

Me: Ashlynn, come here. (She just stares at me, so I stand up to go over to her.)

Ashlynn (seeing me coming her way, starts running to me, yelling): FINE!


Me: Ashlynn, go upstairs.

(She stands there, staring at me rebelliously. Then as I start heading her way...)
Ashlynn: FINE!

No, not "fine." I'll never hear that word again without hearing my two year old's voice yelling it at me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The End

The school year is over. Well, mostly. Kora was still getting over her bout of bronchitis earlier this week, so she missed the first day of the standardized testing. So she still has to make that up. And I have them do at least one lesson in math per week during the summer - their favorite! Our pool is closed on Monday so I try to do it then and get it over with.

I usually do a post to kind of evaluate how the year has gone. I hesitated to do it this year. Not so much because we had a bad year academically. But it was a tough year all around. We've dealt with a death in the family, a fairly serious injury on my part, the serious deterioration of the health of my grandmother, Kelly's uncertain job situation and the emotional angst that entailed, and months and months of what seemed like unending illnesses. Add that to the normal routine of taking care of a family of eight and the homeschooling year should have collapsed under the weight of all of it. But I realized as I look over the year that we had a good year, in spite of all of that. In some cases, school work provided a normality that served as an anchor during some hard times. That doesn't mean that I wasn't ready to "pitch" it at times this year. :-)

As I look over the year, here are some of my evaluation points, both good and bad:

1. Hailey really started to read this year! She struggled more than all the other girls put together, but it finally "clicked" this year. She's reading books on her own and liking it. She's not the bookworm Brynna is, but this is a huge step forward. Hopefully this will translate to being able to read her math story problems, for example.

2. Brynna is really starting to make a transition into being able to work a little more independently. Don't get me wrong, at nine, she still needs a lot of supervision. But this year she was able to move from subject to subject without too much daydreaming in between. She even had a subject with computer cd lessons and she did great with it. She is eating up Latin like Kora does. She will soon be making the transition to Saxon 5/4 and I hope that helps her with her multiplication skills - that two digit multiplication has given her problems.

3. Aubrey is making great improvement in her thinking skills and logical thought. She's on the edge of the "logic stage" of development and it shows (right down to the "pert" remarks). She's always been a math person and she is continuing to excel in that. We are working on her writing/compositions. That did get better this year, but still needs help. She's also a little, shall we say lazy, when it comes to doing things like answering her history questions. Latin is not her "thing" like it is for Kora, but she did get better at that this year as well. Next year we are concentrating on writing and thoroughness.

4. Kora's writing made leaps and bounds of improvement this year, no thanks to me. I enrolled her in a writing co-op class, and it was so worth it. Last year she struggled with math; this year she did so much better. I'm glad that last year we slowed and down and re-did some of the book she was in and really made sure she grasped the material. Yay for the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling! Now I'm not worried about her moving into Algebra I at all. She's far ahead of me in Latin now so we are going to be enrolling her in an online course to help with that for next year.

5. Lauryn, well, to be honest Lauryn is where I really dropped the ball. She turned 5 a few months ago, and with the older girls I was working with them a lot more by this age. I did work with her some, but not consistently. She wasn't terrible interested either, so it was easy to let this be a sporadic thing. Hailey and Brynna's work was very teacher intensive this last year, and so I let Lauryn pretty much have a playful year, her work largely revolving around which princess she would be that day. So next year, my goal is to consistently work with her on phonics and have some fun math activities and games to play with her.

6. Ashlynn started talking and is showing interest in potty training. 'Nough said. ;-)

Friday, May 21, 2010


Add pink eye to the list. Yep, me, in both eyes. :-/

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May you live in interesting times

OK, since the big recitals on Sunday afternoon/evening, we've had:

a whole bunch of company leave.

my "cold" turn into bronchitis.

two other family members get a bit of a stomach bug.

a doctor diagnose me with bronchitis and give me medicine that is not working as fast as I would like (it never does).

the IRS send us a letter letting us know that we are being audited for the 2008 year (which we turned in last year in 2009). Evidently they believe that we either (a) don't really have 6 kids (maybe we are borrowing someone else's?) or (b) that we aren't reporting all the income we are getting to provide for these 6 kids. I get a good laugh out of that one.

My plans for the week have largely gone out the window. The biggest event for the week has yet to happen. Kelly's changing jobs! After looking and praying for over a year, his last day is Friday and he starts the new job on Monday. He is quite excited about the new project he'll be working on. And, as usual, he won't be able to tell me anything about it. Oh, well.

This is also the last week of school, which means it's time for me to order books for next year and start planning for it. I also have a lot of projects I'd like to get done this summer - most of them I had planned on doing last summer, but my foot injury pretty much scratched any of those plans. Maybe it's a good thing I've been on the couch this week. I think I need to rest up!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Spring Recital 2010

Kora and Aubrey each played in a recital yesterday. The spring recital in the music conservatory they are in is a big deal every year. The concert Aubrey played in was Sunday dressy; Kora's was formal.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Girls

The ones who made me a mother.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The "Later" pictures

Halfway through the week, and I'm ready to go back to the river. Our home school group rented a duplex right on the Guadalupe River. Since we rented both sides, we had the spacious deck all to ourselves.

Here's a look at the top level of the deck.
This is how far up the top deck is from the dock. The deck was actually three stories: the fishing/boat dock, the grilling level, and the lazy mommy enjoying the view level.
This is a peek at our wild party. Ignore the comfy pajamas everyone is wearing, and pay attention to the spiral staircase. My bed was up in the loft up those stairs. I had stupidly decided it was a smart idea to pack everything I was bringing into one suitcase: clothes, toiletries, blow dryer, games, movies, shoes, wine. And then I had to lug it ALL THE WAY UP THOSE STAIRS. The other ladies were all laughing at me. Next year, I'm bringing 2 duffel bags instead.
Some moms enjoying the deck Saturday morning, holding babies to give some of the other moms a break.
This is the view we had to look at.
A couple of the moms went fishing. Teresa caught a couple of rainbow trout, including this one. Those of us who like to eat fish but can't stand to catch them were duly impressed.
On Saturday about 5 of us went tubing. We liked it so much that on Sunday we rented a couple of rafts and 7 of us went rafting. I'm in the front in the pink shirt. Our "exit" spot was just across the river from our house so I had one of the other ladies get pictures.
See that raft waaaaaaaay back there? As we were pulling our raft out of the river, the other group was well behind. And they had 4 rowers and we only had 3!

Come on, you guys, hurry up!
Just kidding! Who wants to hurry on vacation?

We are definitely going to have to do this again next year! Next year, we're tubing all the way to Gruene!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I'm back.

I'm exhausted.

I'm NOT sunburned in spite of a day spent river tubing and another in a raft.

I want to buy one of the houses we saw on the river. And never leave.

My husband is not going to like it when I tell him we have to move.

Pictures later.