Sunday, Sept 14th.
The girls have Sunday School after Mass on Sunday mornings and we live too far away to merit going home and back so our weekly visit to the grocery store happens while they are in class. While trying to amuse Sam when waiting at the deli counter, we look in the fresh food case and I ask him to name the ingredients of the various dishes that are displayed. One of the salads had chickpeas in it so I told him hummus was made with chickpeas. He was quite pleased with this new piece of knowledge since he loves hummus.
It was a big reading day with Olivia since that got ignored for most of last week. She read me a school book on butterflies and then three Bob books. I was not really paying attention to the last Bob book so I have no idea if she read it correctly or not, but the three books I was tuned in for went pretty well. I noticed in Mass this morning, she was word tracking in the missalette with her finger. Her reading is coming along.
At bedtime Grace announced that since animals do not have consciences, they all go to heaven when they die. I had to tell her that no, we actually don't know what happens to animals when they die, but we can trust God to do what is best for them, whatever that happens to be. This answer satisfied her, but she is such an animal lover, it worries me if anyone tells her differently from either end of the spectrum.
We successfully got them in bed earlier tonight, thanks to skipping supper after a huge meal at the parish picnic. Or so we thought. About fifteen minutes after the lights were supposed to be out, Grace bursts from her bedroom upset because she has forgotten about the reading log. She wants to go downstairs and work on her reading log. No. Go to bed. Much crying. I discovered furtive work happening several times until I just went to bed myself pretty sure she was going to try to work on it as soon as I left.
Reading logs drive me batty. Grace reads plenty of books. She comprehends what she reads quite well. But we will spill much blood, sweat, and tears trying to appropriately document these facts.
Got to write two checks and fill out two forms for the girls to get their school sweatshirts for the year. They aren't terribly expensive except I will put money down right now Olivia wears hers once and only once. She will wear it to school one day and see that everyone else has one too and will never wear it again. I can foresee this, but how can I deny buying her one when her sister is getting one?
Monday, Sept 15th
After all the reading log drama, Grace had to walk laps for five minutes of her recess because she forgot to ask one of us to sign it. Oh yay, more to sign.
At school Grace had technology class where she took reading tests. Olivia had guidance class which she does not like. Guidance class is the school system's pathetic excuse for moral education. Of course, we can't call it moral education and can't refer to anything that might reinforce why moral education is necessary. All this means is that guidance class is filled with pablum about bullying and respect and "be nice because it's nice to be nice." If you think I'm kidding about the "Be Nice" bit, the next county over has a whole program around the concept. I'm sure it will be a raging success. I am pretty sure nobody likes guidance class, not even the guidance teacher.
Everyone all around, adults included, were in generally grumpy moods so not much conversation at supper. Read one school newsletter and signed two agendas.
For the past few weeks, Grace has been pestering us to help her build a website for cheetahs. At first we thought she wanted to learn how to code and we kept pushing her off because that's pretty intensive. It's been years since I coded a website from scratch so I would have to study up before showing her. Dave codes pretty regularly but doesn't really want to sit with her and take ALL the time it would take to teach it to her. He has got a lot going on right now. Then inspiration struck! Since we have been in blog creation mode, perhaps a blog is more what she is looking for. Grace is now the proud owner of Grace for Cheetahs. Go visit and see if she has written anything yet. I used this opportunity to talk about what one may and may not share openly here on the World Wide Web.
Tuesday, Sept 16th
The girls had cross-country practice again, so hot, tired, and sweaty girls. I keep catching myself calling the practices rehearsals which just sounds wrong, but is what I am accustomed to calling these after-school phenomena.
Impromptu meeting in a parking lot with my parents to get our 18m box of baby clothes from them since the weather is getting cooler and Marian needs some pants. My parents graciously let us store our tubs of children's clothing in their attic because they have the room and we don't. They were on their way out of state and were passing near our area right at suppertime. So supper was late and the evening disjointed and not much discussion was had.
Grace had PE and spent time learning about themes in reading. Olivia had technology class. Yay. After supper Sam helped clear the table and empty and reload the dishwasher. A very helpful boy.
Olivia is driving me nuts with her desire for the latest cheap gimmick prize from the school fundraiser. The thing I hate about fundraising is that the very organizations we are supposed to entrust our children's best interests manipulate those same children into a greedy lather over cheap trinkets in order to make a few bucks. I find the whole process revolting. I am pressured into buying products I don't need at prices I would never normally pay while my children are affirmed in their greed and end up with one more piece of trash to leave on the floor.
Read one letter from cross-country, signed two agendas, and finally looked at the school fundraising packet. Have mercy on me.
Wednesday, Sept 17th
I got home just in time for some blow up that made me worry the evening was going to be a grumpy slog, but cooler heads prevailed and we had a pretty good evening.
Olivia had PE and Grace had library where she checked out the cheetah book again for the umpteenth time.
During supper we reminisced about our old Honda CR-V which we had to trade in for the van when Sam came along because carseats. The CR-V was a manual and we discussed what makes a manual transmission different than an automatic. Lots of explanation about the stick and the third pedal. We were surprised to hear how much Sam pays attention to what we do when we are driving. He could describe it very well. I guess his carseat location gives him a good view.
After supper, Grace taught me a new hand clapping game which she could perform herself and to a wall, but got flustered when I was her partner. I tried to practice with Olivia too, but her coordination is not quite there. It was silly and fun and thankfully not the words I learned in elementary school.
When the silliness subsided, Olivia read me the butterfly book again and another Bob book.
Signed two agendas and a packet of work, checked Grace's math homework, and listened to Olivia talk about fundraising all night long.
Thursday, Sept 18th
Olivia woke up this morning talking about fundraising. How long, O Lord? Grace woke up with a bad cough so she stayed home. After work, I had a church function to attend all evening so I left the crew to themselves tonight. All in bed when I got home. Signed one agenda.
Friday, Sept 19th
A day for ranging conversations. At supper we discussed France and cheese, inspired by bearing discussing the cheese section of a French grocery story, and whether or not France was in Italy (no). After supper we went out to run some errands and discussed school things in the car. Olivia had art today. She finished her lizard from the other day and started drawing a sunflower which she will paint next time she has art class. Grace, who had technology, talked about her last art class.
Grace: We are learning about a guy who was famous for creating popular art so we are drawing popular foods.
Me: A guy who is famous for popular art? Andy Warhol?
Grace: Yes! That's him. He made popular art.
I laughed. Doesn't that just sum up modern educational philosophy! Fourth graders are studying Andy Warhol.
After the art conversation, Grace talked about the Native Americans she is learning about. Now I am not up on my ancient Native cultures, but I think she is learning about ancient people and not relatively modern ones. Here is how the tangent started:
Grace: Is there a country in Asia that speaks English?
Me: There are people in Asia who do speak English, but no, English is not the official language of any country in Asia that I know of.
Grace: So how did the Indians speak English when the pilgrims got here?
This touched off a conversation to clarify what she was asking, about how English did not exist when people crossed the land bridge into North America, and how most natives actually did not speak English. She was trying to square in her mind exactly how it came to be that when the Pilgrims came to North America, there were people there who spoke English. When we got home, I looked for something on Squanto. I thought I remembered Melanie putting something up about him once a few years ago, but came up empty. Must have been someone else. Maybe another blog or maybe she wrote about not Squanto. Anyway, I settled for this little write-up. Grace read it and seemed satisfied.
I signed nothing.
Saturday, Sept 20th
First thing this morning, we found that someone went out early today to watch the implosion of the ruined bridge from the big wreck about a month ago and posted the video on the local FB page.
We watched this video probably ten times. First we talked about implosion and dynamite and chain reactions. Then we talked about safety precautions. Finally we talked about the difference in the speed of light and the speed of sound and counted the time delay between seeing the explosion and hearing it. (About 3 seconds, if you are curious) Marian was sitting in my lap and every time we heard the boom, she jumped. It was funny. She wasn't upset and it didn't seem to scare her, but she startled every time.
At breakfast, Grace was back on the Native Americans. I forget exactly how it came up, but eventually we were talking about how culture and civilization cannot develop without a steady and dependable supply of food and people were nomads until agriculture was invented. "Agriculture was invented?!" she exclaimed. So we talked about how people had learn how to plant and grow and maintain a water source and only after that did people start to settle down into fixed locations.
At lunch, they are were begging for tea, but were being served water. I quipped they could think of their water as a tea of hydrogen and oxygen. They were not impressed, but I drew them a water molecule which looks like Mickey Mouse and they were amused. Grace wanted to know that since the sun is made of hydrogen, if water is created by the sun shining on the oxygen in the air. No. We talked about the sun and radiation and the three states of matter. Dave started talking about Mr Wizard and an experiment in creating water by putting a spark to a balloon filled with hydrogen. I intended to find them a video to watch, but they ran outside and I typed this up instead.
So that's pretty much our week.