Monday, February 23, 2009
I had 5 hours off on Saturday at a Creative Memories workshop, while dh looked after the kiddos.
Someone there said that the amount we paid for making our albums should mean that we don;t have to pay for the class. Another mum of little chidlren and I agreed that it is the best $12 we could hope to spend...we get the use of the consultant's tools, space to lay things out without a toddler scribbling on the pages (or worse) and the magic of not having anyone ask anything of you...just being, and not having to do anything at all.
I love going to my class...I find it impossible to get anything done on my album at home. I love being with my children, but occasionally I like to be away. This is a monthly class, and the last one was in December. I don't need a lot of time alone, but when I feel I need it- I need it yesterday. I got this little break right in time I think :0)
We went to the Wave Pools on Sunday...it was so much fun! The last time we went all together was when Tombliboo was 14 months old, so more than a year ago. It was hard going then with him all over the place, and me rushing to catch him as he whizzed down a slide, etc. He was far more cautious this time, I noticed, though once he realised the slide was perfectly safe, he was off :0)
J-Man commented, "I'm having the *best* time!" He jumped off the side in to a 2M part over and over and over. Daddy did too, and even Princess- until a lifeguard came to say she was too little to be doing so.
We all went down the hydroslides...I have never been down before, always looking after the littlies. It used to be that you had to be over 8...J-Man was desperate to turn 8, and he has loved it ever since. We realised last time Daddy took the kids that that is no longer the case, so Pricness was able to slide too- she loved it! This time, we looked for a reason for Tombliboo not to go down, and there wasn't one- so he went as well.
He loved it! At the end of each slide, he sung a little song- "Oh Yeah! Oh Yeah! Oh yeah, yeah yeah!" It was too funny, then he would run back up the stairs saying, "We go again!"
I screamed the first time...I get freaked about hydroslides, espcially when there is a blacked-out bit. I once got knocked out on an hydroslide in Rotorua when I was around 18. I had to really hold it in the first time I took Tombliboo, not wanting to freak him out.
We went in the hot pool, and Tombliboo kept saying over and over, "Don't put a head in...too many germs" like a mantra.
We ended up staying for four hours, then leaving so late we needed to stop and get pizza on the way home for dinner...what a shame!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
J-Man (10) got an idea for a game late last night, and started to make it. It is based around Lord of the Rings and has a number of rules which make the game interesting and quite challenging. Daddy came up with an idea for making the men stand up, and they (along with Princess) created little characters for the game.
I played with J-Man this morning. It was great to see how well thought out the game was. It is his intention to save up for little figurines to use to play the game. He's found a really good deal on Trade Me, and tells me over and over why the deal is a once off, crazy-not-to kind of deal...unfortunately we don't have the funds just at the moment, which is the bit that is escaping him...how can we miss out on such a great deal??
As we killed the "bosses" he subtracted the hit points, writing it down to keep track. I was thinking 6-6= Dead!, and was surprised when he said the exact thing I was thinking.
Lately J-Man has been doing a lot of different things that don't involve the computer. It's been nice for me to see, and be assured that force/coercion is not necessary to get a boy off a computer.
Yesterday we visited the Auckland Maritime Museum with a group of home educators. We had never been before, and since we are soon to leave Auckland, I decided we just had to go!
J-Man was not at all keen, he rarely is keen to go anywhere, and he debated with me over and over about the need to go. Eventually I got tired of laying out my reasons (even as we were nearly there), and just said ,"We are going, I'm sorry you don't like it, but we are."
We only needed to take two buses since it is in the middle of town. Tombliboo insisted he would not be wearing a shirt, which was fine by me- but I don't know how many people comented on it. I wouldn't have thought it was a taboo as such, it was a reasonably hot day- he's only 2...why should people find it odd? I'd have my shirt off if noone could see me, lol.
The second bus was a bit late, and I had planned it so we arrived pretty well right on time...so we were late, unfortunately, but noone minded (and we weren't the last to arrive).
The group split in to two, 7 and under, and 8 and up. J-Man did not want to go by himself, though I figured he woudl be pretty bored at a story-telling session designed for littlies. He was adamant, so I told him he coudl do as he wished. Another mum we know, who's dd and J-Man get on really well after a shy start, asked if he'd like to go with her and just *see* where the older kids were going, and then come back to me. He agreed, and so we parted ways. I didn't see him again until lunchtime.
Princess and Tombliboo went with me to the younger group. The storyteller was magic, she involved the kids and was dressed in old-fashioned clothing to further play the part. She was describing how she (as a time-traveller, lol) once came to New Zealand from England on a 3 month boat journey.
Tombibloo sat through nearly the whole thing, which was not expected, but a tribute to how interesting this lady was. Pricness answered several questions, and was totally engaged.
We got to see how the cabin of a ship, and how a whole family (of 5!) were required to sleep on one small bed...it wasn't at all as I expected...there were no rooms, just beds, all in a row, with curtains to close at the front.
After our story-telling session was finished, we went to see a real cannon (with real gunpowder) getting fired. We met up with J-Man at that point, who had enjoyed his tour. He said it was a bit boring in parts, and I heard from my friend that the guide obviously normally takes school children.
The cannon was the highlight for Tombliboo...I don't know how many times he announced, "A cannon go BOOM!" It was really loud, and we counted down to the firing as well, which was terribly exciting for one small boy.
We ate lunch as a group, and then meandered through the museum. The children all got busy on a ship they were allowed to climb on, and they had a fabulous time. It was interesting to observe them all taking turns at being the captian, and dodging various icebergs, pirates and sharks. This is the part I love most about homeschooling trips- that the kids all just get along, when given opportunties to play and be imaginative/creative. There were no segregations of age, or gender, or excluding the child that was just a tad too loud.
J-Man, who you'll remember did *not* want to go, did not want to leave...how very ironic, and also how very typical :0)
Tombliboo did want to leave however, and kept asking to go home. I took him to a nice spot to breastfeed, but he got off pretty quickly, saying, "I go home, oh, oh ,oh", moved away from me, then vomitted all over the (thankfully concrete) floor. Another mum could see that I was wholly unprepared for such an event, so with her 3 children went to get cleaning supplies, while I stayed and snuggled Tombliboo, and stopped other skidding thourgh the chuck :0(
He *really* wanted ot go home after that, anddn I tried to coax the others along a bit quicker. They really didn't want to leave the ship, and it was sad I had to curb their fun, but I figured Tombliboo might throw up again, or get to the point of no return and it was only fair (to him) to get home as fast as possible. I also knew we had 2 long bus rides to go beofre we could even get home.
As we were walking to the bus stop, we saw a bike-bus thingee, and it occured to me that that would be super-fun for the kids, and a bit quicker getting to the depot as well. They climbed aboard, and I took this photo, then jumped on too. It was a bit much to ask the young man to carry all of us (and our heavy bag) but he wasn't bothered in the least.
I told the kids that on our very first date, Daddy and I had gone down Queen Street on one of these bikes. That was a wonderful night- the first night in my history before or since, lol, that I couldn't eat! He picked me up, looking very handsome- wearing a black rollneck and blue jeans, and his earring (which he stopped wearing soon after, but I actually thought was gorgeous). He also had a big bunch of beautiful flowers. We bussed in to town, and went to a cafe' down Lorne street. I had potatoes wedges, with cheese, bacon and sour cream and a Coke :0)
That was the point that Ben realised he had forgotten his wallet, lol, so I paid...my first hint that this man is as forgetful as he is disorganised :0)
Anyway...we caught our first bus home, but had to get off early since J-Man really needed the bathroom. We stopepd at a McDonald's, where we got sbnacks, adn the kids played in the Playland. They were having so much fun, and Tombliboo seemed fine, and I had had the foresight (at last) to take a book of my own on our trip...so we stayed for a very long time.
We got the next bus to where we should have gone, and then a third one to get home, arriving home a little before 7pm (having been out for well over 10 hours).
It was a really neat day :0)
Princess typed me this message on a chatbox.
It should say...
Mum, would you be able to look in Sydney?
(Sydney is a market to buy cards in the game we play together online).
When I first saw it, and had her tell me she had sent me a message- I didn't know what to do with it for an instant...but then found it was easy enough to decipher.
I wondered if I should tell her it was hard to read since all the words ran together...I decided to in an off-hand, breezy sort of a way, just so she would know.
"I know that Mama! It's just that when I had the spaces in they put a red squiggly line under each word, and I didn't like it- so I took the spaces out".
She is not hard-out driven to read now she has discovered she can (as J-Man was)...she's still happily chugging along not reading, but it's not far off, and I love watching!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
We always go the zoo each year with the extended family for a bbq dinner...this has been going on since well before we had J-Man. His first zoo bbq was when he was 2 weeks old, and I was still nervous about breastfeeding in public- so had expressed a bottle of milk for him to have!
I figured since we needed to catch buses anyway, we may as well make a day of it.
We left around 9am and went to the mall to watch a movie. Princess, Tombliboo and I went to see Hotel for Dogs, and J-Man went (alone for the first time ever) to see Nightmare before Christmas 3D. I have said the last *several* times that I won't go to a movie again until Tombliboo is bigger...I relaly mean it now, lol.
I hardly saw anything. At one point, as I was running up and down the hallway, the usher commented, "You're not seeing much of your movie". Didn't offer to refund my ticket price though, lol.
We went up and down the lift, and then he discovered the Time Out area and wanted to sit on or in *every* ride. Every time I managed to get back ot the theatre, he would say, "I need a toilet"...that is the sentence above all others that he knows I will move for.
He tried out his lungs in the toilets (screamed as loud as possible), and after the third one, the usher and a security guard came running. I was so embarrassed, but I think they saw in a second that here was a happy child having a blast, and an esaperated mother trying (very unsuccessfully) to make him stop. I expect they were suprised not to see me with a carving knife sawing off his legs.
None of this is new of course, so the real quesiton is why on earth do I keep doing this?
Well, the answer is simply for the big kids- they ahd a great time, they both enjoyed their respective movies very much, and were glad to have gone. We also went with new firends, so it was a bit more fun.
Afterward, we stayed near the Time Out place for a while, where Tombliboo was set to climb in the prize hole and up in to a machine where you win balls. He probably could have done it too had we not extricated him fairly quickly.
We went to McDonald's for lunch annd some time at the Playland... I also had very little money fo rhte day, and logically probably shouldn't have gone out all day...still, it worked in the end :0)
We left there about 2pm, and caught a bus to Onehunga...it was a long trip- Tombliboo and J-Man went to sleep, and Princess nearly did too...she was like me, gradually closing her eyes, then jerking them open the next instant.
The bus was late to the next stop, so we missed out next bus and had a half hour wait...but that was fun, we chatted to a vietnamese mother and her two pre-schoolers. J-Man thought we should invite them for dinner, or at leats to play some time.
We caught the bus to Western Springs and walked through the park to the play area. Tombliboo loved talking to the birds, and all the kids had loads of fun.
We moved from there on to the zoo, and met up with the cousins, uncles, Aunt, Nana and Daddy. The memory card on our camera was full before we got very far, unfortunately.
The highlight was seeing tiger cubs (about 6 months old)...they were simply beautiful and all the kids (from age 2-13) were in awe.
This is the mum, we didn't get a good shot of the cubs even though we were very close to them.
We ate a bbq together, and headed off when it began to get dark.
It was (once again) a very nice evening at the zoo.
Remember a few days ago when I said I thought Princess was on the verge of a breath-through with reading...by golly, I think it happened!
Last night she came to bed with Tombliboo and I, and we read stories. I had sort of had in mind reading a chapter or two of James and the Giant Peach...but she had other ideas. We read two long Berenstain Bears picture books, then Tombliboo nodded off. I felt like doing the same, it was 11:30pm after all.
But Princess wanted "just one more", and my eyes weren't up to it...I said, she could maybe start and I would help.
She agreed, and began, "One day..."
I gaped...how on earth did she read those...I had looked over her shoulder, and decided the book was too hard for her- she can normally only phonetically sound words out, so a word like "one" will not work at all.
"How did you know it said 'One day'?" I asked.
"Dunno", she answered.
She continued..."One Day Mama and the cubs went to Farmer Ben's farm".
At this point, I was excited..."Blimey Honey- You;re reading! How did you do that?"
"I didn't know I could," she replied, with a grin from ear to ear.
I called for dh, and he came running to see what the emergency was.
"Do it again, Princess", I urged...and she read the first sentence again, without hiccoughs.
He was amazed, and told her she read very well...she was beaming, and eager to carry on. She got tired after a few pages, and sis struggle over some words like "there"...she read "the" and then realised that was wrong, so said "the- ree"...she's no at the stage yet of reading something and then self-correcting, preferring me to supply the missing word (which is just fine).
I finished the book, but she was still palpably excited, and couldn't sleep so ran down the hall to be with her Daddy.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
We're having another busy week...home all day today, which is nice, but I can't seem to keep up with the mess! Tombliboo is a whirlwind, and whiel I'm busy cleaning one mess, he's off making another.
It's not the first time this has happened, but it is really bugging me today...luckily, when I just lost the lot (oh dear!), big sister Princess came to the rescue...helped me clean the latest mess (flooded laundry) by getting me some towels, and then took her little brohter away to watch a movie, and calm him down after hearing Mummy yell (most unsually) for the second time today...sigh. He's asleep now, on her lap.
Meanwhile, I feel totally awful for a) yelling at my toddler, b) getting stressed abotu a stupid house and probably a whole variety of other letters as well ;0(
Lots going on around here...
Tombliboo had his first ever gymnastics class...it was fun for him, though soooo much waiting around- he's younger than the recommended age, but still- I don't know why *everyone* wasn't complaining about the structure. The big kids went to the library to get books, and watched the class. J-Man (10 doesn't know why he needs to sit in on a class for pre-schoolers when it is only 2 minutes from home. He wants to stay home playing on the computer, and be able to call me if needed. It seems like a reasonable request, but the class goes for an hour, and it doesn't feel right. Still thinking about that one.
Tombliboo counted backwards from 10 a few weeks ago...that was exciting for me, because I had previously only heard him count back form 5 (courtesy of Little Einsteins). He is saying loads of "I" sentences, in fact most of his sentences begin with "I", often the second word is "need"...as in, "I need boobah", or "I need strawberries"...if it were me, I'd be saying ,"I need chocoalte!"
Princess seems (once again) on the verge of reading. There was an ad for an online program called Reading Eggs on a homeschooling list, and we decided to begin a 14 day free trial. Princess loved it, and unlike her brother was determined to finish it. Unfortunately she seems to have got as far as you can go in half a day rather than 2 weeks. I don't think she learned anything, but she loved it, and I think as she moved up the levels she probably would start to learn some more.
I finsihed reading The Witches to her, and have begun James and the Giant Peach. I'm feling a bit sad that I didn;t start earlier- think how many cool books we could have got through by now! On the other hand, it is not easy to read with Tombliboo in the hosue...the little boy who has sat and pored over books since before he could walk, does not like me to read. He always takes the book from me, insisting, "I read the book". Seeing as he is up from around 7am-11pm each day, with only an hour's sleep (if we're lucky), the available times for reading are a bit light. I'm sure it's just a stage, but it is an annoying one nonetheless.
Anyway, reading...it has now been around 5 years since Princess knew the sounds and names of all the letters...it's a slow process compared to her brother...but boy, it's fun!
I have had times of wondering when it would click, and why it hasn't already, but am now (once agan) in a place of absolute trust that Princess will work this thing out in her own good time.
She is enjoying the computer at the moment...she likes to play the same game I do- Packrat, an application on Facebook. What was just a fleeting passion for J-Man, has become a daily adventure for Princess. She soon caught up on all the current sets, expertly consulting the wiki for recipes, and has now completed 3 retired sets as well...that's left us both rather credit-poor so we probably won't for another for a while.
J-Man clocked a game this week, Silverfall on PSP...I think it is the very *first* time he has completed a game *ever*. Actually, he is telling me he finsihed WoW, which of course he did just a day or two before they moved the goalposts...but the two children play very differently. He is more likely to be all over the place, with fingers in every pie, while Princess is persisitent and methodical about her gaming.
Princess and Tombiboo played with straws- he had hiffed them everywhere and so they were useless for drinking out of...with scissors and cellotape they made various things (well, only Princess really), and had a lot of fun.
J-Man made a banana phone, which was quite amusing, and also made a potion so he could kill a patch of grass...it was truely disgusting but gave him a lot of pleasure, and he even involved Tombliboo- finding and adding digusting things in the fridge. He also painted himself yellow, with help from Princess, for a horror movie he planned to film, then decided against.
J-Man and Daddy went to see Twilight at the movies...he said it was the best movie he has ever seen, which was high praise. I must look fr oa copy of the book for him to read or for us to read together.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
We spent most of the weekend at home, making messes then tidying them.
We all went out to a Waitangi Day concert at the Telstra Clear Pacific Stadium. It was stinking hot and not overly comfortable, but we were glad to have gone.
Princess and Tombliboo went on a few rides, after very long waits. They went up a bouncy castle slide thingee when I noticed it seemed ot be falling abotu itself. I asked the lady running it if it was ok fro the children to be in there, and she said, "No, no children allowed- one of the motors has blown". So I had to go in to get them- Princess came straight out when I said it wasn't safe, but Tombliboo was having far too much fun.
We got out just as they righted the problem, so they both went in again.
J-Man is pleased to be home...Tombliboo offered him some of his egg, and J'Man said, "You know- if you really think about it...anyone would trade in their two year old for this one- he's just soooo cute!" Princess agreed, and I felt all warm and toasty inside :0)
We also got a wafflemaker with our Flybuys points, and made our first batch...yummo!
We had our city-wide not-to-school picnic at a beach this year. It was my 5th, but the first one without J-Man (still visiting with Grandma and Poppy).
My dh took the day off work to come with us, which was really nice. We all got up early and got ready for the day. Princess packed gear to stay the night with her friend Z5 (actually she packed the night before, and was terribly excited).
We still hadn't decided what we would do for the evening with only one child! J and M offered to look after Tombliboo so we could go out, but I really don't think he's ready for that yet. Still, it was very exciting to have a night off (sorta).
The picnic site was at least an hour away from our home...first we stopped at the health shop to get some no-nasties sunscreen, then went even further away to pick up a bike for Princess. The two smallest bikes we had which were about to be passed down to the next child were stolen just before Christmas.
Then it was on to the picnic, where we all had a lovely day. There seemed to be even more people there this year, and laods of new faces. We spent some time playing at a playground, and the kiddos went on a flying fox!
On our way back to the picnic site, Tombliboo spied some mud, and as I was about to say, 'Don't jump in the mud Honey", he did. Of course. Then that was so much fun he started really jumping as high as he could, until the inevitable happened- he slipped and landed on his bottom. Not one to stomach clothing at hte best of times, he instantly rmoved his trappings, and ran starkers back to the group.
Then he spied the beach, and that was that- he would not be persuaded swimwear were a good idea, or a towel, or letting Daddy know where we were...and he was "in like Flynn".
I was also in, since he wouldn't let me go- shoes and all.
We got back to our group, and enjoyed talking to old firends and new. Princess and Z5 got busy, and eventually wanted to go to the beach. Z5 had come unprepared to swim, but dove in anyway, and the pair of them happily played quite a way out in the sea.
I met a new friend, and thought I would have to introduce Tombliboo to her 2 year old when he got back from another splash in the sea with Daddy...but i didn;t have to- he found her, and what a time they had of it!
Z5's family had to leave a bit earlier than they wanted to, and Princess went with them. We were down to one little tot. He was busy watchign some boys play with B'Damon type toys. They were 8 and 7, and absolutely lovely with him. He kept asking, "What are doing?", over and over, and they answered without annoyance. They even let him play with the new toys, and he had a blast. Everywhere they went, he followed for a time, as well as spending time squirting a drinking fountain.
Meanwhile dh was taking a loooong work call, and I was chatting away to a bunch of usnchooling mums- bliss.
We packed up at 4pm, and headed home still trying to work out what we would do for the evening. Tombliboo wasn't in the least bit tired-looking which was amazing considering the long day we had had. I wonder if he was enjoying being the only little voice in the car.
We got stuck in traffic, and in time he did nod off, but then woke abruptly (after perhaps 10 minutes) and really, really wanted to get out of the car. He needed to pee, and I think he was fed up with the trip as well, so we agreed to get off at the next exit. We were going to pick up some takeaways, and maybe eat at a park, when we got a call to say that J-Man would really like to come home right now.
He had said from the first day that he was finding the nights hard, even crying himself to sleep- which was just horrible :0( so him phoning and wanting to come home was no big surprise. It meant the end of our speical night, but that was just fine.
Thankfully, dh thought it would be better to drop Tombliboo nad I home, since he would not have done well with another 4-5 hours in the car.
Dh headed off to meet his parents half-way, and bring J-Man home...it was going to be a late arrrival. About 10:30pm, Tombliboo went ot sleep, and Princess phoned crying wanting to come home as well...she was at least an hour's drive from our home, so the three of them got home at around 12:30am.