Friday, May 23, 2008

Bad Weather

We had some awful weather this week - hail and tornado warnings. Just last week on Mother's Day there were tornadoes very near here. Moving around so often as a kid gave me a healthy exposure to different kinds of "weather" - tornadoes and thunderstorms in Oklahoma and earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis in Hawaii. Not that I was ever in a tsunami, but in Hawaii they teach schoolchildren what to do in case of one. Come to think of it, I wasn't actually in a volcano, either. But on was erupting while we lived their and we did stand a few feet away from the oozing lava. Anyway... Because of all that I've never been especially nervous about weather. I'm not a tornado chaser, by any means, (though Twister is one of my very favorite movies of all time!) but I'm not one to run to Walmart every time there's a rain cloud either like certain Grannies I have! And yes we've told her Walmart is a bad place to be in a tornado - some habits are just too hard to break.

But all that was to say this...the bad weather on Tuesday made me nervous. Just realizing that I have four little ones to get to a safe spot and that I could be doing that by myself if hubby were at work was a little frightening. So was the fact that only one flashlight had batteries in it and once the power went out we had NO contact with the outside world (cell phones only worked some of the time). So I'm making some quick bad weather plans.

Here are directions from The Weather Channel on what to do in case of a tornado...

In a Frame Home
Make sure you have a portable radio,
preferably a NOAA weather radio, for information.
Seek shelter in the lowest
level of your home (basement or storm cellar). If there is no basement, go to an
inner hallway, a smaller inner room, or a closet. Keep away from all windows.
You can cushion yourself with a mattress, but do not use one to cover
yourself. Do cover your head and eyes with a blanket or jacket to protect
against flying debris and broken glass. Don't waste time moving mattresses
Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier.
Multiple tornadoes can
emerge from the same storm, so do not go out until the storm has passed.
Do not leave a building to attempt to "escape" a tornado.
In a Mobile Home
Leave your mobile home immediately and take shelter elsewhere.
Try to get inside and seek a small protected space with no windows.
Avoid large-span roof areas such as school gymnasiums, arenas, or shopping
If you cannot get inside, crouch for protection beside a strong
structure, or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area and cover your head and neck
with your arms or a piece of clothing.
In a Car
Ideally, you should avoid
driving when tornadoes or other kinds of dangerous weather threaten, because a
vehicle is a very unsafe place to be. If, however, this is not possible, stay as
calm as possible, and assess the situation.
Your best option might be to get
out of the car and lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area that is
sufficiently deep enough to protect against the wind.
If you do so, beware
of water runoff from heavy rain that could pose a hazard; get as far away from
the vehicle as possible and shield your head from flying debris.
Or, if possible, take shelter immediately in a nearby building

I have lots to do around here to prepare including making a bad weather kit and buying a weather radio. Any ideas about what must be in the kit?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Things change

My Sunday was lovely. After Sunday School the kids and I headed out of town to a family reunion and we all had a great time. It was wonderful to catch up with cousins and let the kids meet cousins they didn't know they had. It was wonderful.
But Sunday evening I got some very upsetting news. My pastor announced his resignation. He is taking a church about two hours away from here. I am heartbroken at the idea that they'll be leaving. I feel like I'm losing part of my family! (And my babysitter! What will I do without Lauren!?!)
And yet as Casey and I talked and then as I talked to Sherri, my pastor's wife, I can see God's hand in all of this. I know my pastor to be a man of prayer and I have faith that he is following God's plan.
It's so uncomfortable when God changes things, isn't it? I cling so tightly to the idea that I can control our little lives, even picking and choosing the areas that I turn back over to Him. Please Lord, change this and this, but don't change this! Growing up as an army brat, I swore that once I got grown I would settle down and never move! But for all my big plans, things do change. People come and go from our lives. Friends we see several times a week are suddenly "email only." Family dies. People change and make decisions that separate us. Even my precious babies who, right now, consume all my time, will need me less and less as they grow.

The only relationship I can truly rely on is my relationship with God. So why is it the easiest to put off? The easiest to coast along in?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day

I'm glad I read this post of Meredith's the other day. Levi brought me these beautiful blooms from our garden yesterday. Unfortunately he left the stems so more flowers would grow:) They fit in the dish my grandma bought me in the mountains, though, and really brightened up my kitchen. Isn't he the sweetest?
Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Wrapping Up Kindergarten

Only three more weeks until I'll officially declare this school year over. Levi has done so well. We've worked our way through the website and his reading is really exceptional for a kindergartener. I know that sounds like bragging, but I really can't take much credit for it...he just seemed to pick it up. I started him on English for the Thoughtful Child this spring and we both like it. It does have quite a bit of writing and he gets a little tired of that. Sometimes I make him plow through and sometimes I let him narrate to me.
We've also covered the whole Saxon K book and we're working on Saxon 1. I really love Saxon's spiral approach of doing a little of everything everyday, building on concepts slowly. But Levi does get bored with it, so I edit quite a bit when I know he's had enough repetition. As a matter of fact, we probably could've skipped Saxon K altogether. Now I know.
He's on Book 3 of the Draw Write Now series. I love these books for drawing and handwriting. Levi loves to draw so he loves them, too. We're almost done with the beginning MindBenders book and Beginning Geography: How to Use a Map - both of these have been fun. This spring we started doing Spelling as a separate subject using Spelling Workout A. I skipped the first few lessons because they seemed a little simplistic for a kid who's already reading, but the book itself is really good. We've done lots of other things like making a nature notebook, learning hymns, memorizing the books of the Bible and learning the catechism. Most importantly (to me, anyway) we've both gotten used to the idea of homeschooling and learned to adjust things when they need to be adjusted.
I planning now for next fall. I've planned to follow the general outline of The Well Trained Mind since I first read the book when Levi was a baby. The thing that appeals most to me is the idea of studying history in the order that it happened. We bought The Story of the World already and Levi is going through the activity book picking out projects he wants us to do (will I really be able to stomach making a real chicken mummy? that's right mummifying a chicken we bring home from Kroger, y'all).
Since we'll be beginning with ancient history in the fall I wanted to go back just a little farther and study how history started in the first place. Of course Levi already knows the creation account from the Bible. But I wanted to really delve into it a little deeper this summer so we're going to do a unit study on Genesis using books like these
The Creation
Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden
Dinosaurs of Eden
Dinosaurs by Design
The True Story of Noah’s Ark
Tower of Babel
There will probably be a lot of emphasis on dinosaurs if I know Levi...I just plan on exploring whatever he shows an interest in.
I think I'll post about what I'm planning for next year later since this post is already probably more than you ever wanted to know. Just one (maybe two) last thing(s). If you're homeschooling little ones or thinking about it, Holly has a great series going on here, here, and here. And I've decided to start kindergarten with Brenna next fall, even though she's just turning four this summer. I'm certainly not trying to rush her at all, but it's really just a matter of labels. She insists on doing school with Levi anyway and if she isn't ready for first grade work after one year of Kindergarten we can always do another year. For me having a grade level is just about the kids being able to answer "what grade are you in?" when other kids ask them. It will make history study much easier, though. We'll study ancient history, for example, next year when Levi is in the first grade and Brenna is in Kindergarten so she'll start at the beginning, too.