Craziness

First, let me say our bathroom is sooooo close to being finished, and I can't wait to show it to you!
I will be re-doing this antique cabinet to go in the bathroom, it has a hutch with wavy glass doors.
When I was telling DH what needed doing to it, he said "so basically you're just using the doors"......oh, it's not THAT bad!  The cabinet was in the milk barn, we don't know if it was originally in the house or not.
Anyway Saturday we got up, milked cows, and I was at the vet by 8.  The baby goat was fading fast, and her moma has in infected foot, probably caused by improper hoof trimming by previous owner.  The vet said that the stress of the hurt foot might be why moma goat is not making milk.  She got 2 shots and was sent home with 2 more syringes to be given later.  Baby Lafayette got 2 shots also.  We were home by 9.  
Then it was time for Lafayette's bottle again, and off to the feed store.
Bought 1300 lbs of feed, then abandoned the van at the milk barn....because I certainly wasn't going to unload it alone.  That's about 3 weeks of feed for Jersey's and small animals, our Beef cows are entirely grass fed.
Came to the house, made butter, started laundry, ran dishwasher, and by then it was time to see about lunch.  Made sure lunchtime farm chores were done.
Meanwhile DH was working on bathroom trim, and asking me question periodically.  Then after kitchen clean up it was time to feed Lafayette again!  Had to gather and organize papers for taxes; appointment is Monday morning.
More laundry, graded some school papers and helped kids make corrections.  Then we had to lower a gate in the goat-lamb-calf pasture, so that Happy could not escape.  He was hit by a car last week, and his days roaming free are over.  After that we moved the antique cabinet from a storage building to the porch, and discussed how to make it work.  Fed Lafayette again.  Then we had to unload the feed from the van, 'cuz it wasn't unloading itself.  While I started supper, DH started taking the cabinet apart.  Of course after supper, all animals had to be fed, watered, milked, etc.

So even though the bathroom is soooo close to being finished, you can see why our progress is slow.
Better not set your plans in stone if you live on a farm......time to feed Lafayette again!

A new kid in town



Amelia, one of Emmi's new goats had a baby.   She gave us absolutely no warning signs.
Both times, Milly has shown signs for a week or so before delivering, but no such clues from Amelia.    
Emmi had told Avery that she could have the next girl kid.
Avery named her Lafayette----as in Gen. Lafayette from the Revolutionary War, yes, it is a girl.
Although small, she didn't seem premature.  Mom, Amelia, is not producing milk--at all--not even a drop.
We hoped the milk would kick in the next day....but we are on day 3, and still not a drop!
So the bottle feeding has commenced.  Right now she is getting jersey colostrum, that was frozen from Coralee's last calving.  Every 3 hours, I get to feed the little one.  The most she has taken is 2.5 ounces!  As she learns to take the bottle, Emmi and Avery can take over feeding her, but right now I really have to work with her.
We also have a new visiting bull.  Emmi named him Nathaniel Green (also from the Revolutionary War).  
We hope this will be our last rented bull.  We now have Jersey, Angus, and Sem-Angus bulls that are not related to any of our cows, but they are not yet old enough to mate.  This  bull's job is to mate with Coralee; we bought her after the last bull was here, and she calved in November.  
I like his green ear tags!  We need to order some, and I don't want boring yellow or white.

New glasses

Wes, AJ, and DH got new glasses last week
This week the girls and I got new glasses.
Waid is off schedule from the rest of us, but we let him be in the picture anyway.
May I just say, Thank you Lord for vision insurance!!!

While today's glasses were being made, we made peanut butter banana roll ups for lunch, at the park.
Read rule #2 ....quiet.....at a park, too funny!
It was 71 degrees and windy, I am concerned about tornadoes tonight.










This smallish playground was a great place for Jenna to practice cane skills.  Only one drop off was more than three feet, so it was fairly safe to let her explore.
We didn't help her one bit, and she did great.










She even went up this green thing, and down a 6ft corkscrew slide, all by using her cane and touch.

She's 80!

I had two VERY exciting phone calls this week.
First, I tracked down the man that owned our house in the 70's and 80's, and had a dairy here.
He was able to give me a lot of info on the buildings.
He did not know the exact age of the house, but gave me the name of the man who built it.
From there, I was able to find the original owner/builder's last living child.  
She is 80, and they moved in when she was three months old...............
SO after a year and a half, I finally know for a fact, that our house is 80 years old!!

The glass door knob above is 80!
The 5 panel doors are 80!
The wavy glass windows are 80!
I was right in assuming the lumber was milled from the property and that there was NO bathroom in the original house!  And the outhouse was a nice little trek away.  The house has been built on to three or four times.  (Thank goodness the last owner did a good job at making it look unified.)  The sweet lady and I talked for over an hour, and I can't wait for her to come visit when the weather gets a little warmer.

The 3 1/4"pine in the bedrooms is 80!
Surprisingly, the 1 1/2" oak flooring in the original dining room and living room is 80!
This one threw me off, because it is so very 1960's ranch flooring.  But it IS original.  I don't know why there are two different woods, but hope to soon find out. 

I
 I learned where "the sidewalk to nowhere" once went. We knew our ponds were spring fed, but she told us where a well is!   She shared a story about playing in the sand that was used when the brick front porch was added.
She knew that the barn is older than the house, but we don't know how old.
I'm so very thankful for the opportunity to learn more about our farm history!

Bad dog

Looks guilty of something, doesn't he.
You know our barn has the old hay holder thingy, so hay can be dropped down from the loft, and be ready for animals to munch on.


Dallas gets put in the tack room overnight, because we just don't trust him around the animals yet.  The stairs to the hay loft are in the tack room.
He ventured up the steep steps to the hay loft last week, and had to be rescued by me.  The steps are so steep, and slippery with hay.  I can't imagine a 4 legged animal having to go down head first.  After rescuing him, I didn't think he would go back up to the loft.
He did.
We don't know if he fell down the hole by accident, or was trying to get down.
He was stuck.
He would have fit through the open areas, had he not been  to afraid to cooperate.
DH had to remove one of the boards to get him out.

Now we have a baby gate at the top of the stairs, hopefully this will prevent Dallas from getting back up there.   And would you believe that a certain boy who discovered the poor dog, continued about his business, doing his chores, for a good 15 minutes before telling us that Dallas was stuck.
We have a huge lack of common sense around here!

Emmi is 12

I have declared that this is the year of store bought birthday cakes.
Emmi wasn't thrilled about it, but moma needs a break!
She loves to read, and asked for the rest of the "Millers" set.  The Millers are a Mennonite family.  These books are great, and we were excited to find out that they now have 3 accompanying workbooks that we will be doing for school.
Emmi came home from China in March 2005.  She loves animals and is a huge farm helper.
She also prepares kids' lunches everyday.  
She and Avery were playing with some sewing items, and made Betsy a bonnet and dress today. =)

School- our curriculum

I often get asked what curriculum we use.  When Kristen and Jake were my students, I could answer that in about 2 sentences.  Now it's much more complicated.  With 6 different kids, all with special needs, I've just been keeping my head above water.  But I think I finally have a grip on what works for everyone, and their abilities.
Waid, age 10, legally blind, and mentally challenged, technically in 4th grade...is thrilled to have finally made it to some 1st grade work.  Abeka language, math, and reading are working for him right now.  He also has a binder of worksheets that he can do independently.  They include handwriting, extra math practice, cut and paste sheets, etc.  I give him about 4 a day to do.
Math for Emmi, Avery, and Wes, is Teaching Textbooks 6, 5, and 3 respectively.  
Math for Jenna and AJ are general 3-4 grade workbooks. They completed ABeka video 3rd grade math last week.   AJ is missing the corpus callosum of his brain; the band of nerve fibers that join the 2 hemispheres of the brain.  Because of this, he cannot progress any further in math, at least at this time. 
Jenna is going blind.  She was able to do the ABeka math using her CCTV, but cannot progress any further, due to her vision, and must learn more braille before doing math in braille. SO, for both of them, the goal is just to maintain what they have learned.
Each child (except Waid) has a "daily review" binder, divided into days of the week.  Vocabulary pages are the same for everyone on Monday, for example.  But Tuesday may have math review with Emmi and Avery doing the same worksheet, and Wes, Jenna, and AJ doing the same worksheet.  So each child's daily review binder has extra practice pages specifically picked for that child's abilities.

We are very excited to start using The Sassafras Kids Zoology program.  I will read the book to everyone, they record things in their Scidat book (each at his own level) , which has other worksheets as well.  The program even has a downloadable coloring book for pre-schoolers to do alongside older siblings, so we printed that out for Waid.  
Aside from Waid, everyone is doing Primary Language Lessons, with the downloadable workbook.  I think this will be great for us, since it is adaptable to each child's abilities.  Explode the Code 8 will be used by everyone in that group except AJ, he has some basic language worksheets in his daily review binder.  

Language is hard for this crew.  Four of them spoke Chines before English, and 3 of them did not talk at all until after age 4.   We get lots of sentences like "I done my schoolwork.", "Emmi be busy right now.", "We was late to the doctor.", arghhhhhhh!  So I am hoping that a more writing based curriculum will help, as we will have to re-write our corrections everyday.  
We will be using the comprehension guides from Progeny Press for "Little House in the Big Woods", and "Milly Molly Mandy".  These have not only comprehension questions, but vocabulary words to look up, activities, geography, and writing assignments.  Waid will listen to the reading and do some coloring sheets, or write a sentence or two about what he learned.
Two kids have a big problem with reading comprehension, everyone (except Waid) will benefit from the above workbook.  This is from a teacher supply store, so copying is legal, but I am just going to have them pass it around to each kid, and write their answers on notebook paper.

The kids read everyday!  We have the whole Abeka graded set, plus many public school type reading books that we have obtained from thrift stores.  Plus we have  our own library in the storage room, divided into grade level, which each child is working his way through.  Jenna reads print with her CCTV, but also reads braille everyday.
Daily handwriting includes our memory verse, as well as some other sources.  The book on the left has story starters.  The children will be working on neatness as they do some creative writing.  Jenna does daily handwriting in print and braille.
These are our read-alouds for the year.  I had bought them before I found the Sassafras Kids set.  "Pocketful of Pinecones" is set up to be used in a similar way to Sassafras Kids, but doesn't have the workbooks and teacher helps along with it.  The study is set up to begin in the fall, perhaps we will be done with our Sassafras Kids by then, or just do both.  

Did you notice History is missing?  We love history.  The kids beg to watch Liberty Kids like some kids beg to play video games (which we do not have).  We've sort of camped out on American History for a couple of years.  We've used "Road Trip" and "My Father's World".  We also have all of the oldie-but-goody original American Girl  "Welcome to _______'s World" books, which have excellent pictures of daily life, and historical artifacts, all with captions explaining what life was like.  Plus all of the library books we've read, have kept everyone interested in history!  Maybe by fall we will be ready to move on.
I'm seriously looking at the "Visit's To" geography series at simplycharlottemason.com, which could be an entire history program by adding living books from their book list.
If you have questions about any of our curriculum, I would be happy to help.  I hope this is helpful to someone, I had fun writing it.  It's a great record of what's going on in our lives, which is why I blog in the first place.

Cccccold

BRRRR  17 degrees this morning. 
Happy Butterball still wanted to play with his best friend.
22 degrees in the milking parlor, Emmi still wanted to work on training Jennifer.
I am thankful to have an enclosed building to milk in, so many people do not have this.
We are very thankful this morning for freeze proof faucets!
We had to run a few errands, I am thankful that my van has some sort of fancy electric coils in the ductwork; so we basically get instant heat, instead of having to warm the van up.
Emmi is thankful for the new goats she bought, Amelia and Henrietta.
She is also thankful that they were raised outside, without shelter, because we are out of barn stalls!
They really like the old original milk pit in the barn lean-to.
We are thankful today to have a warm house, and we feel blessed, because so many people do not have so many things that we generally take for granted.

Bathroom progress

We didn't get much done=(
I got a coat of polycrylic on the walls.  DH installed the vanity light fixture, and then we were able to hang the mirror.  Since DH is building the vanity cabinet, this needed to be done 1st.  DH wants the vanity top to be counter top height, but it will be a tight fit.  So we needed the light and mirror up to work off of those measurements.
He also got the foyer light installed.  I wanted something unique, but it couldn't hang down too low, and had to be affordable.  I had drooled over this fixture online.....for over $100.
SO you can imagine the happy dance I was doing when I found it at Home Goods for $39!!!!
It's hand blown, with wire fashioned around the design.  It was a pendant, but easily shortened.
The proportion is great too for a small foyer.
General Waid, of George Washington's army, kept us safe while we were working.

School room clean out

Last school year was full of adjustments and craziness, we barely got all of our days in (170 in AL).
This school year started in June.  Determined not to fall behind, we have done some schoolwork every day, with the exception of Christmas and a few others. SO, we technically have finished school for the year, and are starting on new curriculum.

I say "technically" because we've fulfilled our legal obligation of homeschooling, but that is not what counts.
What I discovered along the way of everyday school, was that my kids NEED this schedule.  They NEED so much repitition to stay on track, and they like it. We don't do as much each day as we once did, but do at least math and language every day.
I cleaned out the school room, like I've never cleaned out before.  I have finally faced the truth that these kids don't learn the same as my older two.  No one here is going to graduate college at age 20, like Jake did.
But that's, OK, and God has great plans for each of them.  
My expectations are much different, and I'm finally getting a handle on the different learning styles and needs of this crew.  My local thrift store will love the cleaning out that I have done.
Look how fabulous, this cabinet was jammed full before.
I have found many new things that weren't around when I started homeschooling over 15 years ago, or that I simply didn't discover, because my first 2 were so easy to teach.
I am so excited to get going on the new stuff!  For the first time in 2 years, I broke out the big Xerox.  
I admit, I broke it out, but DH did all the work, scanning workbooks, downloading files purchased online, and generally doing all the technical stuff.  I love that so many of our new choices allow us to make as many copies as we have students.


 Look at the cute pic Avery drew on today's language paper.  Moe (our lamb) is asking Toby (our donkey pretending to be George Washington) if he can go with him across the Delaware River.  They get these ideas from our Liberty's Kids dvd's.