It's been a while since I posted a "week in review", but the kids were trolling the blog for pictures the other day and I realized how much everyone enjoys it when I keep track of the weekly doings this way. I have no idea what week we're in now, technically speaking, but I have almost logged 180 days, which is all I am required to document in New York state. On the other hand... things seem to be unraveling a shred early this year, probably because of the exceptionally good weather. Our high temperature on Saturday hit 80 degrees. Last year at this time, the snow had just melted from an April 15 snow storm. After a northern winter, it's pretty hard to convince anyone they should take time out to do math. In combination with the weather, we also had a few doctor's appointments to fit in and a trip to Wal-Mart to pick up someone's glasses, which meant that I didn't even try to convince anyone to do math (or anything else) on Friday. Instead, we met Daddy for lunch at Pizza Hut.
It's all just as well, I suppose, because it has become clear lately that some things about our routine are just not working. Once again, I've tried to use a math workbook for Katydid to get her through a place where me sitting down with her and doing hands-on math was pretty difficult, and once again I've realized why I was sitting down and doing hands-on (Montessori) math with her in the first place. I've also suddenly realized that I am this close to having a sixth grader on my hands, and said sixth grader needs A LOT of help with spelling. I think I should be expecting more out of him, but how much more? How much work? How much time? The "gifted with learning difficulties" complicates matters a bit here.
To that end, I've been reading The Well-Trained Mind again, which I do every year, and if you read this blog regularly and didn't peg me for the kind of person who reads The Well-Trained Mind at regular intervals, that's probably because I'm somewhat omnivorous when it comes to books and educational philosophies, and mainly I am just looking for stuff that works in my house. What works in my house often changes with the weather, which is what I think some people may mean by the term "eclectic."
Anyway, I spent a lot of time this week thinking about time management, and schedules, and how to teach spelling to a severely spelling-challenged child, and how to get the laundry done, and whether the garden was dry enough yet to plant anything, and wondering why I never have anything planned for historic events such as the Pope's visit, and being thankful for the Internet in those cases. (A tip from Joanne led us to this history of Pope Benedict's life, and a heads-up from Dawn sent me scrambling to amazon for this book. The Dolce del Papa we ate on Sunday night was Andy's inspiration, though, and had nothing to do with me:
It's the Dessert of the Pope! Sold by our local hole in the wall pizza place!
As for what everybody else did this week...
Katydid tried to train her hamster to come when called and also to run through a maze. I was going to do a post on this endeavor entitled, "Pavlov's Hamster?", but alas, I never found the time.
We had our first cookout...
No, really, we did. It's like June here. (Those weird UFO shaped things are some of our mushrooms, by the way. They were excellent on the grill.)
And we did start planting. Well, Andy planted mostly, but the kids did help, and Gareth earned some extra money planting potatoes. Pictured here are comfrey (a green manure, good feed for chickens, and apparently a valuable herb for humans, too) and cippolini onions. He also put in peas, chard, spinach, broccoli and/or cabbage (Andy's not sure which), scallions, carrots, kale, and beets. I transplanted my tomatoes into bigger pots, and Gareth and Katydid put their jar-sprouted pumpkins into pots. Cowpots, to be exact. (It probably says something about me that I was excited about finding these at Agway on Saturday.) Linnea's Windowsill Garden has been a big hit around here lately, and Katydid has been digging up quite a few plants for transplanting into pots on her windowsill or to spots around the yard. (We may actually be starting our own pine nursery.) Andy tilled up a plot for a butterfly garden for her, and she planted some nasturtiums and bronze fennel there.
I'm not sure if spring is Katydid's favorite time of year or not, but she definitely enjoys her daily nature walks. We have some eastern phoebes nesting in the detached garage. They sit in the crabapple tree to defend their territory from other phoebes, but Katydid tells me that they don't mind the purple finches that also hang around that tree. Last year I would have had no idea what birds she was talking about, so it seems that my education is proceeding apace. Here's a picture of the nest:
At least, we think they're using this nest, as they fly in and out of the garage quite frequently. (This happens to be a sort of shed built onto the outside which is open on one side. We store the tiller, garden tools, and firewood here.) As you probably already guessed, Katydid took both these pictures.
The little guys have mostly been playing outside until they collapse, or pounding on each other with foam swords. (Or, as Farmerboy says on a daily basis, "Mommy, there's going to be some fierce fighting after dinner.") Because their big brother got glasses, the little boys wanted some, too. I obliged with these cool shades:
(Never mind that the tag is still attached.) This is Pip, who has decided he is really a cow in boy's clothing. Whenever we're in public, he refuses to talk to people and instead moos. Loudly. When we went to pick up Farmerboy's glasses, I'm pretty sure Pip traumatized another two year old boy by MOOing at him while wearing these really cool Hot Wheels shades. (Actually, I wish I had brought my camera, because the sight of both boys in the cart wearing their sunglasses was really, really funny. I can't imagine what other shoppers were thinking as I walked through the store pushing a cart full of 3 boys under the age of 3, two of them wearing sunglasses, and one of them mooing and shaking his head like Stevie Wonder, while three more kids trailed behind me.)
And, last but not least, Chipmunk, he of very little sleep, learned to push himself into a sitting position from the floor this week. Here he is, looking very pleased with himself: